RODEL R. DANGANAN, PhD
School Principal II
Sta. Rita Elementary School
SDO Annex- Cabiao
“Prevention is always better than cure.”
In this time of Covid-19 pandemic, it is highly recommended that everyone especially the young and the old ones to be vigilant in preventing the spread of this virus. Months have passed and there are still many confirmed cases found in different parts of the country despite the lockdown initiated by the government and the continuous reminder of wearing face masks, face shields, hand sanitation and disinfection, and avoiding mass gatherings. In line with this, to help contain the spread of the virus, the schools in various districts have initiated their programs and practices regarding school health protocols. At present, it is very important for schools to provide distance learning and continuity plans to help and support the learners in their out-of-school teaching and learning process.
Since prevention is always better than cure, it is necessary for the school heads, teaching, and non-teaching staff to undergo health screening. In this process, the health and safety guidelines include temperature checks, filing and filling out of health declaration certificate and contact tracing form, foot disinfection with the use of step mat with disinfecting agents, and hand sanitation with the use of alcohol dispenser upon arrival and before entering the school premises. Aside from this, school staffs are also required to wear facemask and face shield all the times. Furthermore, the school heads provide free face masks and face shields for his/her teaching and non-teaching staffs. It is also mandated for school staff to follow social distancing. Likewise, various approaches to properly exhibit social distancing is done in schools like reducing the number of teaching and non-teaching staff who will attend to school through AWA (Alternative Work Arrangement) wherein school staffs are given schedule on when are they supposed to be in school while the others are working at home. Classrooms’ and office’s seats set ups are also reduced and arranged accordingly with 3-6m distancing. The pathways of the school are painted with foot/arrow marks with proper distancing to prevent crowding in a certain area. The schools with the help of local government units have constructed hand washing facilities in their respective areas with sanitizing soaps to be used by the parents, visitors and other stakeholders as they visit the school premises. It is once stated that frequent hand washing can help reduce and prevent the spread of the virus. In front of every classrooms and offices are step mat with disinfecting agents and alcohol dispensers to be used to prevent the spread of the virus. Health protocols and advisories are posted in visible areas to continuously remind the visitors regarding the protocols to be followed.
Furthermore, to ensure that the virus is prevented, cleaning and disinfecting classrooms and offices is frequently done especially in rooms and pathways commonly used by the staffs and other stakeholders. The schools also followed certain cleaning and disinfecting procedures to contain the spread of the virus. Schools teaching and non-teaching staffs are encouraged to wipe regularly the areas and materials commonly touch by the staffs or other visitors and stakeholders. Doorknobs, tables and chairs are clean thoroughly with alcohol and other disinfecting agents while kitchen utensils like spoons, forks, coffee cups and plates are regularly soaked and sterilized with hot water to completely kill the virus and prevent the spread of Covid-19. Schools have also minimized the use of air conditioning systems by opening the doors and windows to maintain good ventilation inside the classrooms or offices. Toilets and sinks which are commonly used by the staffs are sanitized and disinfected regularly.
However, during the distribution of modules and other instructional materials to be used by the learners where parents would come to school to pick materials follows the same procedures. Parents will have to step on a mat with disinfecting agents, temperature check, use alcohol dispenser and fill up contact tracing form then proceed to markers with appropriate social distancing in their respective classrooms.
In conclusion, since everyone is now dealing with a new normal situation in education it is necessary to follow the procedures provided by the LGUs, DOH, and the IATF. In this sense, if everyone will bear with the procedures, we can minimize the rapid spread of the virus and somehow lessen the casualties it brings to us. #DM