Pinoy parents fret over DepEd rule on optional face masks in classrooms

November 2, 2022 - 2:57 PM
Students wear masks amid a health scare over a new virus that has infected thousands since emerging in China, in a Chinese school in Quezon City
Students wear masks amid a health scare over a new virus that has infected thousands since emerging in China, in a Chinese school in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines January 28, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Filipino parents expressed worries over the announcement of the Department of Education that students may choose not to wear face masks when attending face-to-face classes.  

This announcement was made by DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa, days after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed Executive Order No. 7, allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in indoor and outdoor settings.

RELATED: Calls to continue masking indoors made as gov’t set to ease policy

Under this order, wearing of face masks in healthcare facilities, medical transport vehicles, and public transportation is still required.

How parents reacted

Despite DepEd’s announcement, many parents said they will still require their children to wear face masks. 

“Bilang magulang pagsusuotin ko pa rin mga anak ko ng face mask bilang proteksyon nila,” a Facebook user said

“Facemask pa rin, for protection and safety pa rin nila. Di pa naman tayo COVID-free,” an online user said

“Wear facemask para iwas hawa kung may sipon,” a social media user said

“Ok lng basta sa akin magmask pa rin mga anak ko para sa safety nila at sa amin buong pamilya,” a Facebook user said

“Kahit bakunado na anak ko mag face mask parin sya sa school. Para protection,” a social media user said

“Ang face mask ang ating huling depensa laban sa pandemya kaya sa mga lugar na maraming tao gaya ng eskwelahan mas mainam na magsuot pa rin para na rin sa kaligtasan ng bawat mamamayan,” a social media user said.  

Unvaccinated children

Others also said that many children are still unvaccinated against COVID-19, which makes them more prone to contracting the virus.  

“Delikado yan [voluntary wearing of face mask inside the classroom], lalo karamihan sa mga bata wala pang bakuna. Tsk,” a Facebook user said

“No face mask, no vaccine, equals?….pandemic is not over yet…at least wear a face mask,” a Facebook user said

“Voluntary wearing of facemask tapos hindi na nag-social distancing…Yung iba hindi vaxed…Hello COVID,” a social media user said.

Almost a year after the Department of Health started the COVID-19 vaccination among children ages 12 to 17, 76.41% of this age group are fully vaccinated as of August

On the other hand, only 26.94% of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated. This age group covers those who are in elementary school.

Health expert

Meanwhile, former special adviser to the National Task Force COVID-19 Tony Leachon urged students to still wear their face masks to protect themselves and the people around them. 

“Dear students, please wear face masks for your protection, classmates, teachers, staff, & people at home,” Leachon wrote in a tweet. 

“The pandemic is not yet over. I agree that we need to go back to F2F [face-to-face] classes and live with the virus but let’s not abandon MPHS. Value your health and life,” the physician continued.

On Wednesday, November 2, public elementary and high schools returned to the regular five days of face-to-face classes a week after two years of distance learning.  

RELATED: Filipino students return to in-person classes after 2 years of distance learning