Briones claims kids are at higher risk for COVID-19 at home than in schools

MANILA, Philippines – Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that as per studies, children are at higher risk for COVID-19 infection at their homes than in schools.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones
Education Secretary Leonor Briones

During the Laging Handa press briefing on Wednesday, Briones made the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the dry-run of face-to-face classes in areas with low COVID-19 risk.

She said, "Sa mga pag-aaral tungkol sa Covid at mga bata on a worldwide scale, ang UNICEF ngcompilena ng lahat ng studies na nagpapakita na more than 90 percent ng mga infections sa mga bata ay hindi naman galing sa school. Pinakamababang source of infection ang school dahil gwuardiyado yan at lahat, 90 percent ay sa homes."

Briones said that a total of 1,114 schools were recommended to conduct the dry run for face-to-face classes starting January 2021.

To ease the fears, the Education secretary assured that the agency will prioritize the health of students and personnel. She clarified that the nominated schools need to be evaluated to make sure that they are in compliance with the health protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19. The approval of parents and the local government units are also required.

Among the protocols they are looking at to ensure the health and safety of children at school is to limit the number of students per classroom. For Briones, the allowed capacity for classrooms could be possibly set at 50% or less.

“Halimbawa, kindergarten to Grade 3 — 25 kids. But we have to look at the classroom itself kasi we must comply with the requirement of social distancing. That is a major consideration” she said.

Because the students per class will be lowered, they will be "split" in attending different schedules per week.

“Classes can be split. Hindi 'yan that they will be all meeting—all 25 of them for kindergarten or all 45 of them for Senior High School…Siguro once or twice a week on limited hours,” she said.

Under the guidelines prepared by DepEd, students will follow stringent health protocol and must be followed from their home, during travel to and from school, and within campus.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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