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  • Negros Oriental Suspends Public School Classes Amid Novel Coronavirus Threat

    The Department of Education also suspended all regional and national events, as well as off-campus activities.
    by Rachel Perez .
Negros Oriental Suspends Public School Classes Amid Novel Coronavirus Threat
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  • Pubic schools in Negros Oriental are suspended for three days to contain the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), CNN Philippines reported.

    Negors Oriental provincial governor Roel Degamo suspended classes in all levels in public schools starting Wednesday to Friday, February 5 to 7, 2020. Schools will resume classes on February 10, pending future announcements. 

    "This is a precautionary measure to contain and mitigate the spread of the dreaded disease, the novel coronavirus that has claimed hundreds of lives in China and has created havoc in various parts of our country," read the official declaration issued on Tuesday, February 4. 

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    Felipe Antonio Remollo, mayor of Dumaguete City, the province's capital, also issued a similar order. The decision was made in consultation with City Schools Division Superintendent Cyrus Elejorde of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the School Board. 

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    Suspension of classes in private schools is at the school authorities' discretion. 

    The two confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines are Chinese nationals who visited Dumaguete City from January 21 to 25. One of them had died, the first novel coronavirus fatality outside China. 

    Negros Oriental is part of the Central Visayas region has 16 patients under investigation (PUIs) based on the 2019-nCoV case tracker of the Department of Health (DOH) on February 5. The country has a total of 133 PUIs.

    Deped in Eastern Visayas also told schools to avoid "crowding" of students. It suggested that flag-raising ceremonies be held n classrooms instead, according to a report by Inquirer.

    DepEd, DOH "discourages" suspension of classes

    Negros Oriental's three-day class suspension was announced on the same day Education Secretary Leonor Briones "discouraged" schools from suspending classes amid fears of the novel coronavirus, ABS-CBN News.

    "We have discouraged them from suspending classes because it will not prevent our learners from going to crowded places," Briones said, following the recommendation of the DOH. 

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    Some Filpino-Chinese schools in MetroManila suspended classes last January 27, 2020, as they gathered their personnel and students' travel histories during the Chinese New Year holidays and implemented sanitizing protocols.

    As of February 6, 2020, classes are still suspended at Uno High SchoolHope Christian High School and St. Stephen High School will resume classes on February 10.

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    DepEd suspends all national and regional events, off-campus activities

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    According to DepEd Memorandum No. 15. dated February4, 2020, the department postponed indefinitely all its national and regional events that require learners, teachers, and other school personnel from various schools to travel and meet. 

    It covers all national and regional events scheduled for February, such as the National Science and Technology Fair on February 11 to 13, National Festival of Talents and National Schools Press Conference on February 17 to 21.

    There is no announcement yet about postponing graduation ceremonies in March or the Palarong Pambansa, which is set to open in May. 

    The memorandum also stated that all division and district activities that involve the gathering of a student from various schools are "highly discouraged." At the same time, off-campus activities, including educational field trips, are also suspended, to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus.

    DepEd had instructed all schools to focus on spreading awareness and implementing strict health guidelines and safety measures for all students, teachers, and school personnel.

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    For more updates on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, click here.

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