HEALTH MEASURES. Education spokesperson Michael Poa discusses accomplishments for the department's first 100 days during a press briefing in Pasig City on Friday (Oct. 7, 2022). He also explained the health measures included in Department Order 39. (PNA photo by Alfred Frias)

MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday that teachers who are “required to isolate” due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are entitled to a paid “excused leave.”

At a press briefing, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said DepEd Order (DO) 39, which contains the DepEd’s comprehensive health guidelines, shows that isolating teachers are entitled to compensation.

Ayon po doon, ‘pag ang teacher po ay positive for COVID, may sintomas or close contact na kailangang mag-isolate, sila po ay makakapag-avail ng excused absence. Ano po ang ibig sabihin ng excused absence? Iyan po ay absence pero may bayad po sila (According to [DO 39 s. 2022, section 6, par. 29], if the teacher is positive for COVID, is symptomatic, or has close contact needed to isolate, they can avail of the excused absence. What do you mean by excused absence? That’s absence with pay) So they will be paid their salaries),” he said.

Moreover, Section 6, Paragraph 30 of DO 39 also states that teachers or personnel who are close contacts but are “asymptomatic or able to perform tasks” may have a work-from-home arrangement.

Poa said these provisions are in line with Civil Service Commission’s Memorandum 2, series of 2022, for excused absences of government officials and employees.

The DepEd also reiterated that wearing face masks is strictly required in enclosed spaces inside the schools.

Hindi lang po mandatory or optional lang siya pagdating sa mga open spaces. Open spaces can mean may bubong or walang bubong (It will not just be mandatory or it will be optional when it comes to open spaces. Open spaces can mean either with a roof or not),” Poa said.

He noted that this is pursuant to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s EO 3.

Besides protocols on face masks, schools are also required to have handwashing facilities for disinfection, a supply of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved disinfectants, proper ventilation and coordination with the local government for contact tracing and monitoring. (PNA)