July 19, 2021 – To guarantee that improvement of education facilities will continue amidst the health crisis, the Department of Education (DepEd) has issued regulations on the use of schools as isolation areas to give way to infrastructure projects.

“The pandemic did not hamper our mission to provide conducive and motivating facilities. Our infrastructure projects remain a priority to help our stakeholders, especially teachers, to have a comfortable place to work in,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

In a memorandum sent to officials and school heads, the Department directed recipient schools of the infrastructure projects to politely decline requests for their schools to be used as isolation facilities.

However, if the recipient school is currently being used as an isolation area, two courses of action may be taken.

First, if the school is large enough to segregate the isolation area and the construction site, the school can still house the isolation facility provided that barriers are in place.

Second, if the school has a limited area to cater to both the isolation facility and the construction of school buildings, it must coordinate with the Local Government Unit (LGU) and request the immediate transfer of the isolation facility to a nearby school that is not a recipient of infrastructure projects.

“The Department is one with the national effort to curb the surge of COVID-19 cases and hopefully putting an end to the pandemic. However, we must also ensure that the needs of learners are met including the establishment of adequate, safe, and conducive learning facilities, as mandated” Undersecretary for Administration and DepEd Task Force COVID-19 Chair Alain Del B. Pascua noted.

DepEd is expecting infrastructure projects to start in the third quarter of 2021, which will require the use of the school premises for the construction or repair of school buildings. Thus, schools may cite this reason for declining requests.

In addition, with cash-based budgeting in place, these projects need to be completed by the end of 2021 to avoid the lapsing of funds.

LGUs are currently using some schools as isolation facilities and vaccination sites, as part of the Department’s full cooperation with other government agencies on the measures related to the mobilization of resources to combat the COVID-19 threat.