DOH WV said 62 of the COVID deaths were minors aged 0 to 17. Twenty-seven of the 62 were below five years old. Reyes noted that the deaths may be directly or indirectly caused by COVID. Comorbidities may have triggered the deaths and COVID infections do not spare children, according to Reyes.
Resumption of face-to-face classes
Western Visayas remains under Alert Level 3 classification at least until February 15. The Department of Education (DepEd) is already planning for the immediate future if things improve.
Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma said 80 schools in the region were recommended for the expanded limited face-to-face (F2F) classes. When the COVID-19 Alert Level in the region is lowered to 1 or 2, these classes can proceed.
Limited face-to-face classes will cover kindergarten to Grade 12. It will also require both the approval of local chief executives and the consent of parents. The guidelines for Alert Level 3 and 4 will not allow limited face-to-face classes to proceed.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III recently expressed optimism that the Alert Level status in Western Visayas will be lowered soon. “In about a week or two, if our average daily attack will reduce, Region VI will be placed under Alert Level 2, but for now, its COVID cases are still high,” Duque said on February 3.
Western Visayas schools reopening
Division offices in Negros Occidental (16 schools), Silay City (16), Sagay City (10), and San Carlos City (8) have been recommended for F2F classes. Cadiz City (4), Escalante City (3), Himamaylan City (2), and Victorias City (1) were also included.
Recommended for limited F2F classes in the rest of Western Visayas were Antique (9 schools), Aklan (4), and Iloilo (3). Passi has two schools while Guimaras and Roxas City have one school each. Only vaccinated teachers will handle F2F classes.
Garma said private schools may also start F2F classes. Private schools just have to comply with DepEd guidelines and pass DepEd assessments. 90.81% or 76,755 of its 84,518 personnel in Western Visayas were vaccinated against COVID -19, according to DepEd data.
The Department of Health has released Western Visayas COVID numbers for kids while vaccination for children ages 5 to 11 has begun in Metro Manila. Approximately 21,713 children in Region VI tested positive for the coronavirus. The majority of the infected children were asymptomatic.
Government officials are expressing optimism that if positive cases continue to decrease, expanded limited face-to-face classes in 80 Western Visayas schools.
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