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DepEd headquarters closed for disinfection, contact tracing

The Department of Education (DepEd) said Wednesday it shut its headquarters in Pasig City to give way for a “complex-wide disinfection and contact tracing activity.”

The temporary closure will begin Wednesday, Aug. 19 and will end on Sunday, Aug. 23, DepEd said in a statement. It, however, has yet to say on whether COVID-19 infections within the agency prompted the temporary closure.

The DepEd assured the public that “critical operations” would continue as employees of its central office would work from home.

“Financial obligations, salaries and benefits of all DepEd teaching and non-teaching personnel are already being processed, and shall be promptly paid,” the DepEd said.

“Virtual productivity tools will be consistently utilized for official and work-related matters,” it added.

The department’s chief, Education Secretary Leonor Briones previously won a bout against the infectious respiratory disease.

Last Sunday, Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said there were 669 confirmed COVID-19 cases from DepEd’s field units and 14 from the central office. The figures, he said, include teaching and non-teaching personnel as well as learners.

The education department has been criticized by teachers’ groups for not regularly reporting COVID-19 cases among its ranks, and among teachers.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) had also called on DepEd to provide financial assistance to teachers and school workers infected with COVID-19 since many of them contracted the disease due to work.

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