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By: Mylen Manto | Published Wednesday, May 20, 2020
In a meeting with Gov. Gwen Garcia on Tuesday, May 19, the Department of Education 7 agreed to allow local government units to use schools as temporary isolation centers until June 15 only. (Junjie Mendoza)

The Department of Education (DepEd) 7 allowed local government units (LGUs) to extend the use schools in their localities as temporary isolation centers for persons under monitoring (PUM) until June 15 only.

This was agreed upon by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez in a meeting with Commission on Higher Education (CHED) 7 on Tuesday, May 19.

Garcia called the meeting to raise the concerns of the mayors regarding schools serving as isolation centers especially that classes are set to resume on August 24.

LGUs entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Schools Division Office (SDO) for the use of DepEd schools as temporary quarantine facilities or isolation areas for COVID-19, which will supposedly end on May 31.

DepEd Cebu Province Supt. Marilyn Andales said that 21 out of 44 municipalities utilized their schools as quarantine facilities.

Because classes will be opened on August, Jimenez said the schools will be used for the teachers' enrollment preparations and training on June 1.

He also asked the Department of Health (DOH) 7 to issue a certification that the schools which served as isolation centers are free from the Covid-19 virus to ensure the safety of the teachers and the students.

Garcia asked DepEd and CHED of their learning continuity plan considering many of the parents have fear of sending their children to school. 

Both educational institutions committed to implement the public health protocols in schools and offer online classes for those who have internet connections.  
“The DepEd is preparing the learning continuity plan that will suit our situation,” Jimenez said with an assurance to the governor that no students will be left behind of the new system.

He also added that Cebu Provincial Government’s program on home gardening will be included in their new curriculum, instead of the usual feeding program. 

Teachers' transportation

Teachers, who are dependent on public transportation, expressed their concerns on the difficulties they will face in going to schools since the province is under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Under GCQ, only limited public transportation vehicles are allowed to operate and the no back-riding policy remains. Motorcycles are the usual mode of transportation for teachers in the province, especially those who teach in far-flung areas. 

To solve this, Garcia proposed to ask the LGUs to use their service vehicles for teachers' transportation.

“Magsugod ta to get their (teachers) agreement na every two weeks sila kuhaon (by the LGU’s vehicle)” she said. (Mylen Manto)