MANILA - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines - Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (CBCP-ECCCE) has expressed support for the declared "health breaks" in schools in areas under Alert Level 3 as the country battles a surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.
"I agree with the very good decision to put health and life first," Bishop Elmer Mangalinao, chairman of the commission, said in an interview over the church-run Radio Veritas on Saturday.
"I agree with what leaders in various Catholic schools to declare the health break, which was based on the thorough study as there is an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases."
Mangalinao said these steps are to ensure the safety of everyone and prevent the spread of the disease in schools.
He emphasized the importance of the cooperation of every student, teacher, school staff, and their families to be protected from the Covid-19 infection through vaccination and compliance with the minimum health protocols, such as wearing of face mask, hand sanitation, and social distancing.
"It's really important now to be vaccinated," Mangalinao said.
The Department of Education (DepEd) - National Capital Region on January 14 suspended classes in public schools from January 15 to 22, due to the rise in infections in the region.
In Regional Memorandum 017 s. 2022, the department said the suspension of classes was done to ease the health burden caused by the surge in Covid-29 cases to the physical and mental well-being of school personnel and learners.
Private schools may exercise their discretion on suspending classes if the Covid-19 risk in their areas is high, upon consultation with parents' associations.
Several universities and Catholic institutions have postponed classes since last week amid the threat of high transmission of the virus.
On Saturday, the Department of Health logged 39,004 more Covid-19 cases, with 23,613 recoveries and 43 deaths. (PNA)