IN support of the government’s vaccination effort, the Department of Education (DepEd) issued the Comprehensive Guidance on the Participation of DepEd in the implementation of the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) for COVID-19 vaccines.
In DepEd Memorandum 028, s. 2021, the agency laid out its principles and guidelines to ensure the provision of the necessary support for the national government and its personnel.
“The vaccination program will help us mitigate the effects of COVID-19. We need our teachers, our parents, and everyone to join us to overcome this pandemic. DepEd, as the government’s largest bureaucracy, is dedicated to help our vaccination teams achieve our targets,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.
On the said issuance, any engagement of DepEd across all governance levels must be aligned with Republic Act 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, the NDVP and other related issuances.
DepEd will also continue undertaking consultations and surveys among stakeholders and consider its results in contextualizing the implementation of the NDVP.
Meanwhile, Briones emphasized that DepEd personnel must be assured of their protection and safety in the exercise of supporting the vaccination program.
“The safety of our DepEd personnel is our utmost priority, and our policy is that they focus on supporting demand generation and communication activities,” Briones noted.
DepEd reiterated that any other involvement of the personnel in the local vaccination initiatives beyond the scope of their work in DepEd, including their participation in vaccination teams, counseling and psychosocial support efforts shall be voluntary.
The memo also clarified that DepEd volunteers must be granted proper training, personal protective equipment, sanitation resources and applicable remuneration or allowances by the NTF, through the LGUs.
In line with this, Dr. Maria Corazon Dumlao, Chief of Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division (BLSS-SHD), noted that DepEd school health and nutrition personnel may take part in local vaccination initiatives and represent the agency in the Vaccination Operations Centers, while teaching personnel can incorporate vaccination promotion in their lessons and volunteer as health educators or documenters.
Voluntary participation of DepEd personnel must not prejudice work in the agency, and their participation must be approved by their respective heads of offices through a written endorsement to the LGU.
Meanwhile, on the use of schools as vaccination centers, DepEd gives the responsibility to approve or deny requests of LGUs to use DepEd schools for activities related to the COVID-19 outbreak to regional directors that is consistent with the OM-OSEC-2020-002 titled Use of DepEd Classrooms and Other Facilities as Vaccination Centers.
BLSS Director Lope B. Santos III emphasized that the agency is committed to helping the national government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last May, DepEd launched its campaign, Vacc2School: Ligtas na Bakuna para sa Balik-Eskwela, to promote informed decisions on COVID-19 vaccination. DepEd has been conducting town halls and webinars in field offices aligned with the initiative. Related materials are also integrated into the multimedia platforms of the agency.