BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Department of Education in Western Visayas yesterday backed the move of the principal of the Negros Occidental High School (NOHS) in Bacolod City, of denying the entry of 13 unvaccinated teachers and staff into the school premises.
In a statement, DepEd-Western Visayas information officer Ian Arnold Arnaez said that DepEd-Negros Occidental firmly believes that the decision of NOHS principal Josette Terrora to deny admittance to the 13 unvaccinated personnel was solely based on the DepEd policy, and “not on any willful desire to discriminate them that vaccination is not mandatory.”
As the school administrator, she is duty-bound to comply all issuances of the Department to ensure the health and safety of all personnel and that of the learners when face-to-face classes resume, Arnaez added.
In the absence guidelines on “how to handle the attendance records of personnel, who cannot be accommodated in the school premises, despite being required to report onsite, due to failure to present proof of vaccination, or valid negative RT-PCR or antigen test result,” and that the Civil Service policy on Alternative Work Arrangement (AWA) is still in place, Arnaez said that all schools in the Division will still adhere to AWA regardless of the alert level status until such time that DepEd, CSC or IATF guidelines specific to attendance will be implemented.
DepEd-Negros Occidental continues to appeal its personnel to submit themselves to vaccination for their own protection from being infected with the virus, and as part of the preparation for the eventual return to face-to-face classes, he further said.
Arnaez also appealed to all interest groups and the public “to stop fanning the flames to put an end to the issue.”*