DepEd urges learners to vaccinate vs Covid



The Manila Times


The Department of Education (DepEd) here has continued to call on students to get vaccinated to protect themselves against Covid-19 as classes start on August 22. Based on the data provided by the agency, there were only 284,696 learners in the entire Region 11 who had been inoculated as of July 2022 data. Out of the 284,696, 45,977 are elementary school pupils, 167,125 are in junior high school, 62,771 senior high students, and 8,823 are enrolled in the Alternative Learning System. DepEd regional spokesman Jenielito Atillo, during the I-Speak media forum on Thursday, August 11, said that they cannot force the parents and their children to get vaccinated since there is no law mandating them to do so. Atillo said the department is fully supportive of the government’s effort to vaccinate children. However, he said the only problem as far as DepEd is concerned, this is not mandatory. “There is this constitutional guarantee on the freedom of choice that is why if you can remember in all our engagements we say we encourage all to be vaccinated but of course we cannot force them really to be inoculated for so many reasons,” Atillo said. Religion and health concerns are among the many reasons why parents refused to have their children vaccinated, according to Atillo. Despite the low turnout of vaccination among learners, the department continues to encourage parents to have their children inoculated. Atillo, meanwhile, said almost a million students in the Davao Region have already enrolled for the school year 2022-2023. As of August 11, a total of 951,312 students have already enrolled. The figure is already 68 percent of last year’s 1,395,893 enrollees, with over a week left for enrollment. Out of the more than 950,000 students enrolled, 349,557 are from Davao City. Atillo, however, said the number is a “far cry” from the number of enrollees in the past two years of the pandemic. Atillo said that for the first months of the school year, all schools will offer a hybrid modality of learning, and will shift to a full face-to-face learning scheme on November 2. He said the return to full face-toface classes is “going to be a resurrection of the traditional conduct of classes in the country.” Atillo assures us that the department has already prepared contingency plans to respond to any health risks and incidents such as the possibility of another surge of Covid-19 cases.