All schools should comply with the minimum health standards in case limited face-to-face classes will be allowed to resume, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) on Covid-19, said Thursday.
Galvez, also the presidential peace adviser, said the government will conduct strict inspections in schools if the proposal for limited face-to-face classes will be granted.
He said the government will check the school’s compliance with the pandemic measures and health protocols, noting that a model school will be selected to illustrate proper health standards.
“Sa MGCQ sir, gawin po natin muna siguro iinspekin natin ‘yung eskuwelahan, ano ang configuration, anong puwedeng gawin at saka hindi pupuwedeng gawin (In modified general community quarantine areas, we would inspect schools, the configuration on what must and must not be done),” he said during the virtual briefing of President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night.
Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said her office is looking into the possibility of allowing schools in low-risk areas to conduct limited face-to-face classes as suggested by various sectors.
Galvez said the NTF will inspect schools’ playgrounds and canteens, where physical distancing is compromised most of the time.
“Una, dapat wala pong playground. Kasi po pagka may playground, magkakaroon po ng tinatawag na close contact at saka mayroon po tayong tinatawag na ano — na possibility na magkaroon ng transmission because of maba-violate po ‘yung social distancing (First, there should be no playgrounds. Because if there are playgrounds, there will be close contact and there might be possible transmission which will violate the social distancing),” he said.
Galvez said schools must implement measures and guidelines limiting the close contact of students.
“‘Yung mga canteen na mayroong mga parang buffet na normally very vulnerable po tayo. Most vulnerable po tayo pagka po tayo ay kumakain kasi wala tayong mask (We are usually vulnerable in canteens with buffet arrangements. We are most vulnerable when we eat because we don’t wear masks),” he said, citing data retrieved during contact tracing efforts wherein Covid-19 transmission happens when people eat together.
“Nagkakaroon po ng contamination because nagkukuwentuhan po habang kumakain. So ‘yung laway po tumatalsik. Doon po napupunta sa pagkain at saka nag-a-ano po ng pagkain (There is contamination because we talk while eating. So the saliva comes out. Contamination goes to the food),” he explained.
Galvez said schools should comply with the provision of health protection equipment similar to those in malls where there is “one way in and one way out” to limit close contact.
The government will also check if limiting the number of students in a classroom to 10 would result in 96 percent or even 100 percent “zero” transmission, Galvez added. (PNA)