MANILA, Philippines — A total of 1,212 schools nationwide have been utilized as vaccination and temporary isolation facilities for COVID-19 patients, Education Secretary Leonor Briones confirmed on Tuesday, April 13.
Aside from classrooms and gymnasiums, school grounds are also converted into quarantine areas.
“Ito ay ni-review ng DepEd , local government and DOH. Dapat papasa sa requirements ng DOH, dahil ayaw natin ma-expose kung sino mang andiyan sa eskwelahan at this time (The DepEd , local government and the DOH have reviewed these facilities. The areas should pass the requirements of DOH because we do not want to expose anyone present at the school premises at this time),” Briones said.
As requested by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Metro Manila mayors, the DepEd has allowed the use of some school buildings for government health-related activities.
“May schools kami na one room lang ang clinic, mayroon kaming schools na medyo may lugar talaga for isolation centers. Ayaw natin gamitin ang schools na walang tubig, malayo sa health facilities at nasa crowded (We have schools with only one room for a clinic and we have schools with a place to spare for isolation centers. We do not want to use schools that lack water supply; too far from health facilities and located in crowded areas),” Briones explained, giving responsibility to local government units to manage and monitor all concerned schools.
Of the 1,212 schools used as quarantine facilities, only four are located in Metro Manila; 422 in Eastern Visayas and 216 in Bicol.
Education Undersecretary for Administration Alain Pascua explained that while the surge of infection is higher in Metro Manila, only a few schools were turned over for medical purposes because the region already has a lot of hospitals and facilities.