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Should teachers and students be prioritized for COVID-19 mass testing?

Manila, PH – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, the chair for Senate’s committee on education said that both teachers and students under Department of Education (DepEd) should be included in the mass testing for COVID-19 by the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure safety in the opening of classes.

Due to the nature of COVID-19 disease where some carriers don’t exhibit any symptoms or asymptomatic, the lawmaker is pushing for mass testing. The testing can be done in DOH-accredited testing sites in the country. The cost should be paid by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) or the local government units, according to Gathalian.

According to DepEd, there are over 27 million students and more than 800,000 teachers in the Philippines.

Currently, the decision on when classes will officially re-open is also being discussed among stakeholders.

“Ang kaligtasan ng ating mga mag-aaral, mga guro, mga magulang, at mga kawani ng mga paaralan ang ating prayoridad sa pagpapasya kung kailan muling magbubukas ang klase ngayong taon,” Gatchalian said.

“Mahalagang masiguro natin na may tamang paggabay ang ating mga paaralan at may sapat silang kakayahan na magpatupad ng mga polisiyang itataguyod ang ating kaligtasan mula sa COVID-19,” he added.

Should stakeholders decide when to resume regular classes, social distancing will be enforced making each classroom ideal size to be 20, according to the lawmaker. Ample supply of clean water, alcohol, sanitizers, and thermal scanners should be available in all school facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus. #

Photo credit: PPP.GOV.PH

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