DepEd-Bicol suspends events due to NCoV

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Education (DepEd) Bicol regional office has suspended scheduled regional events and canceled participation in national activities as part of its precautionary measures against the deadly novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (NCoV ARD).

Gilbert Sadsad, DepEd-Bicol regional director, in a press conference on Monday, Feb. 10, said the move was in compliance with a directive issued by their central office in response to the threat of the disease's potential spread.

“In compliance with DepEd Memo No. 15 regarding the policies issued by our department to suspend most of the activities for the month of February 2020, we suspended the regional Jamboree, we suspended concentration and trainings of athletes. Palarong Bicol is also suspended temporarily to be reset to a later day,” he said.

MEASURES VS. NCoV DepEd-Bicol regional director Gilbert Sadsad announces during a press conference the suspension scheduled regional events and canceled participation in national activities as part of their precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Connie Calipay)

Sadsad said they decided to postpone Palarong Bicol since they already suspended the training of athletes. “You cannot send athletes to immediately play without attending concentration training. We will give them another time to have a little training before the conduct of the Palarong Bicol,” he said.

The DepEd official said the regional athletic meet was originally set on Feb. 29-March 7 but it has been rescheduled to March 21-29, subject to possible changes, depending on the nCoV situation.

He also said three upcoming national events were affected by the suspension of the region’s participation: the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in Tuguegarao, Cagayan; National Festival of Talents (NFOT) in Ilagan City, Isabela; and the National Science and Technology Fair (NSTF) in Cubao, Quezon City.

“For the NSPC, we have 302 participants who include campus journalists, paper advisers, coaches and teachers. For the NFOT, we have 187 participants and for the NSTF, we have 23 participants. The cancellation is in response to the suspension of the central office. We are going to wait for the scheduled date,” Sadsad said.

He also instructed all division superintendents in the region to seek clearance from health authorities in their respective areas with regard to school activities that will require students to have interaction with learners from other schools.

Asked whether there could be a need for a suspension of classes due to nCoV in Bicol, Sadsad said it is the local chief executive of a particular town or province who should make the declaration.

Sadsad added that as part of their compliance and preventive measures against the nCoV, they already intensified their preventive alert system in schools (PASS).

“The PASS shall be explained and conducted by the teachers in charge in every classroom. Early morning health inspection shall be conducted routinely by the teacher to detect the presence of fever or other signs and symptoms of infection. The teacher shall keenly observe the health status of each learner in the classroom. If the teacher finds out that a learner is sick, this case will be reported immediately to the school head,” he added.

School heads shall closely coordinate with the barangays, municipal and city health offices relative to any resident in the community who has traveled to and returned from a country affected by the nCoV.

Sadsad added that a learner must not attend school activities if suffering from or exhibiting flu-like symptoms. (PNA)