Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said that it is safe to open classes on August 24, the schedule given by the Department of Education (DepEd) in their school calendar.
Duque disagreed with President Rodrigo when asked about the opening of class in a Senate hearing on managing health emergencies headed by Senator Bong Go on Tuesday, May 26.
“Pag-aaralan po nating maigi ito. Sa ngayon, tingin namin, ligtas naman po kung bubuksan natin ang klase by August 24. Kinakailangan po dito, siguraduhin lamang na lahat ng ating minimum standards for health ay nakatalaga,” Duque said.
Duque’s statement came a day after Duterte said he will not allow the opening of school classes until there was an available vaccine against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The health secretary added that it can be done as long as ‘minimum standards for health’ are implemented.
“Ito po young physical distancing, frequent washing of the hands, disinfection of silid-aralan, making sure that there are alcohol and sanitizers, and other measures such as thermal scanning,” Duque added. “Marami po tayong non-pharmaceutical public health interventions in accordance with minimum standards for health.”
Duque said that he trusts DepEd will improve their programs to ensure these standards are met.
The DepEd announced last April 30 that the next school year will officially open on August 24 and end on April 30, 2021.