Teachers urge DepEd to extend their work from home setup
MANILA, Philippines – A teachers' group urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to extend the work-from-home arrangement for teachers, considering that the coronavirus outbreak in the country has not been contained.
“We are in the belief that requiring teachers to report to school beginning Monday, June 22, is unnecessary, impractical, and will just place them and other people in a health hazard,” the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said in a statement on Saturday, June 20.
While there are no classes yet, teachers have been preparing for the opening of classes, like preparing lesson plans and enrollment for the opening of classes. The DepEd targets to have classes opened in August – a proposal that President Rodrigo Duterte initially rejected and would decide on in July.
"Again, we call on Secretary Leonor Briones to order the field offices of DepEd from regions to schools to halt teachers’ reporting on Monday and extend the work from home arrangement until physical reporting is necessary and possible," TDC said.
Why the call? Teachers have been preparing for the opening of classes since June 1, but they were directed to do so from home, as provided by DepEd guidelines. The guidelines prescribed that the arrangement would last until June 21, which meant that teachers can be required by their schools to report physically on June 22.
The TDC had already made the appeal to Briones on Friday, June 19, when it cited a letter that Valenzuela teacher Emmalyn Policarpio had written to the DepEd chief.
In her letter addressed to Briones, Policarpio lamented that she and her fellow teachers were directed to report to work on June 22, without transportation service for those who have no private vehicles. Policarpio had said that since the primary task of teachers is to teach in the classroom, other tasks assigned to them prior to the opening of classes can be done from their homes.
The TDC said through its Friday appeal, it was able to persuade some schools to forego requiring their teachers to report to work on June 22, but there were still some that asked teachers to report, as there was still no order from the DepEd regarding this.
“In a critical moment like this, every instruction must be clear so as not to create confusion or ambiguity. This is beyond the tasks expected from us, but more so it concerns the health and safety of our teachers and the general public,” the TDC said.
The plight of teachers: With public transportation is still heavily restricted, many teachers, like other employees, are expected to have difficulty going to and from work. Local government units have set up transportation options for teachers and essential workers, such as like shuttles and rented tricycles, but this is not true in all localities.
Many teachers would also need to cross borders to report to work but have no means of transportation to do so.
Metro Manila, and most parts of Luzon, Visayas, and some cities in Mindanao are under general community quarantine up to June 30, while Cebu and Talisay are placed under enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine, respectively.
The rest of the country is under modified general community quarantine. – Rappler.com