Local government units have been ordered to continue the strict enforcement of minimum public health standards within their areas of jurisdiction, particularly in schools where in-person classes will be conducted beginning August 22, 2022.
The tasking is among those included in the general guidelines for LGUs and national agencies provided by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the opening of School Year 2022-2023.
In the circular issued by Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. last July 28, 2022, the LGUs will also be responsible for coordinating with the Philippine National Police to ensure the orderly commencement of classes and the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the conduct of building inspections to ensure the quality and structural integrity of school facilities.
The LGUs, through their Local School Boards, are also encouraged to utilize the Special Education Fund (SEF) and give priority to the construction, repair, and maintenance of school buildings and other facilities of public elementary and secondary schools.
“Said works shall ensure that these facilities conform with the standards set by the Department of Health for the prevention and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19, including on ventilation, physical distancing, provision of sanitation facilities and other related engineering controls,” the DILG chief stated.
LGUs shall also ensure the placement of measures for the prevention of the outbreak of dengue fever, through intensified clean-up drives and mobilization of volunteer residents, Barangay Health Workers, Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams, and Barangay Public Safety Office.
Information campaigns about dengue fever, its sources and causes as well as appropriate preventative measures will also be conducted.
Through barangays and Barangay Service Point Officers (BSPOs), the LGU shall likewise ensure proper traffic management and that road networks leading to schools are secure, clean and free from obstructions and hindrances which may pose danger to and deter the passage of students.
LGUs were also called upon to continue their respective COVID-19 pediatric vaccination campaigns.
In the capital town of Virac, Mayor Samuel Laynes last week discussed with the local police, representatives of tricycle operators and drivers associations, barangay captains and other stakeholders the preparations for the upcoming influx of students that could affect traffic flow in the municipality.
More than 10,000 students are expected to come back to the Catanduanes State University in Virac for the opening of classes, with the Department of Education also registering 20,549 learners enrolled as of July 29.