Students attend a flag-raising ceremony before classes at Ricardo P. Cruz elementary school in Taguig city, suburban Manila, on Dec. 6, 2021. Schools in the city are now on a two-week ‘health break’ amid a surge in Omicron-related Covid-19 infections. (Photo: AFP)
Authorities in the Philippines are to shut down schools and colleges from Jan. 16-31 as part of what they call a “health break” in response to surging coronavirus infection levels.
People engaged in non-essential government work have also been told to stay at home amid a surge that saw almost 34,000 new cases on Jan. 13.
Manila City, headed by presidential candidate Mayor “Isko” Moreno Domagoso, was the first to issue the suspension order “to give students and workers time to rest.”
“There will be no classes or working, even online, to have a health break. Anxiety levels [due to Covid concerns] will be lessened,” Domagoso said on Jan. 13.
Domagoso’s order also resulted in the suspension of classes in major universities in Manila such as the Dominican-run University of Sto. Tomas and other Catholic schools.
Authorities elsewhere, such as in Bataan, near Manila, have followed suit.
It’s only humane to give all of us a break amid this outbreak, if only to allow us to recover
The Department of Education likewise suspended classes in elementary and other schools to protect teachers and staff from the surge.
It also ordered “necessary adjustments” to the school calendar to complete the mandatory number of education days in the year.
The move has been welcomed by teachers who thanked the authorities for considering not only the physical but the mental health of teachers during the pandemic.
“Many of our teachers have been sick since the new year started; like the rest of the country, it seems. Nearly every household we know has a sick member in it. Teachers and students alike are struggling to keep holding classes amid this Omicron-driven surge. Either we’re sick or we’re taking care of family members who are. It’s only humane to give all of us a break amid this outbreak, if only to allow us to recover,” said Raymond Basilio, secretary-general of a group called the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.
Thank you. You are now signed up to Daily newsletter
Meanwhile, a diocese in the Philippines has left it to parishes to decide whether to shut church doors in the face of rising infections.
“Placing parish churches on lockdown should now become the responsibility of parish pastors and administrators … this should be done as a last resort and in response to grave threats to people’s health and safety,” said Novaliches Bishop Roberto Gaa on Jan. 12.
Support UCA News…
….As we enter the first months of 2022, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world – Asia – where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.
Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5…
Credit: Source link