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DepEd investigates Zambales teachers’ seminar that led to COVID-19 infections

DepEd investigates Zambales teachers' seminar that led to COVID-19 infections

MANILA, Philippines — The education department on Monday said it is looking into an in-person teachers’ training in Zambales that resulted in COVID-19 infections, saying sanctions will be carried out for those responsible.

The DepEd made the statement after a five-day in-service training and seminar for teachers in Iba from March 2 to 6, where the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition said at least 30 had so far contracted the virus.

“The department strictly adheres to the guidelines and required health protocols on work and office arrangements set by the IATF, the Department of Health and the Civil Service Commission,” the agency said, adding that it did not approve of the event.

TDC national chairperson Benjo Basas has appealed to the DepEd for strict implementation of the work-from-home arrangement for teachers. He said too that the seminar is not an isolated incident since some teachers are still required to physical report to work.

“This is not even essential or could have been postponed or done virtually,” he said in Filipino. “But why did many participants still gather despite having no permission? Who will answer for this and what help can they expect from DepEd?”

In a March 22 statement, Leonardo Zapanta, the schools division superintendent in Zambales, said he takes full responsibility over the incident.

The agency said too that it is monitoring the condition of the teachers, and medical assistance and psychosocial support will be extended to those affected.

“We enjoin our field offices to exercise prudence and observe existing alternative work arrangements and protocols of CSC and DepEd, including prohibiting large physical gatherings, to avoid similar incidents,” the statement added.

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