MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education said this Friday, October 7 that any teacher who tests positive for COVID-19 or has close contact exposure can get an excused absence or paid leave.
According to DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa, the provision is part of Department Order 39 issued on September 20.
“Excused absence means they will be marked absent but they will still be paid their salaries. This is stated under DepEd Order 39 which is based on CSC (Civil Service Commission) Memorandum Circular Number 2, Series of 2022,” ani Poa sa pulong balitaan.
Despite this, Poa said that it is still linked to the CSC memorandum circular that has the mandator on the limit of paid leaves.
“Our teachers are civil servants, and are under civil service, so as to their rules, in terms of excused absences and the like, we follow the CSC because they have the mandate,” he explained.
“We have to follow DOH (Department of Health) guidelines for close contact. As to the limit, we will refer to the CSC memorandum circular,” dagdag pa ni Poa.
Ayon naman sa CSC memorandum, sinasabi nito na: “In the event of circumstances abovementioned wherein the employee has exhausted his/her sick leave credits, Section 56 of the Omnibus Rules on Leave shall apply allowing the use of vacation leave credits in lieu of sick leave credits. In case the vacation leave credits have been exhausted, the employee may apply for sick leave of absence without pay.”
Apart from the paid leaves of teachers affected by COVID-19, also included in the provision of DepEd Order No. 39 the optional wearing of face masks in ‘outdoor settings’, mandatory handwashing facilities in schools and group hand washing activity among students.
“Why a group hand washing activity? Especially for children, when they see their friends washing their hands at the same time, they are inspired and washing their hands becomes more of a habit for them,” he said. RNT/JGC
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