File photo of City DepEd

The Schools Division Office (SDO) of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Puerto Princesa is still waiting for the city government to complete all of the necessary requirements for converting public school buildings into quarantine facilities.

Using empty school buildings as quarantine facilities is part of the city government’s Delta Variant Action Plan. The plan was activated on Monday, October 18, after city health officials announced that two cases of the highly contagious and fatal COVID-19 Delta variant were detected through genome sequencing.

The SDO has reportedly done its part to assist the city government in the process, according to Assistant Schools Division Superintendent (ASDS) Loida Adornado.

“There is a protocol on how we are going to allow our schools to be used as quarantine facilities. First, marami nang planning sessions that we had with the city government,” she said in an interview on Wednesday, October 20.

“It is now at the city government’s end to fast-track the process. Kasi kami, we are willing, but then, we have to apply proper protocols,” she added.

Adornado said at least 17 urban schools and 10 rural schools have been considered for conversion into quarantine facilities. The usage of the facilities was carefully considered, such as whether the buildings had appropriate toilets and how instructors would still be able to use the premises. The SDO will seek approval from the DepEd regional office after the city administration has completed its criteria.

“We still don’t have a document yet signed by Mayor Lucilo Bayron that formalizes the arrangement. Once we do, we will endorse it to the regional office. But we recognize the urgency of the matter,” Adornado added.

Talks of using empty school buildings as quarantine facilities have been in the pipeline of the city government due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. When city government officials announced that the Delta variant had reached Puerto Princesa, using empty public school buildings was one of the components of the city’s action plan to curb rising numbers of cases.