• Be ready for MERS virus, schools told

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    THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday reminded all public schools to prepare and ensure the safety of school children once the feared Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) enters the country.

    Education Secretary Armin Luistro, however,  noted that DepEd is more prepared now for possible outbreak of the killer virus, which had reached South Korea and reportedly killed more than 20 people there also as of Friday .

    “We continue to coordinate closely with the Department of Health (DOH) for preparations in case of any MERS-CoV outbreak,” Luistro told this reporter in a text message.

    The DepEd chief recalled an earlier case of MERS-CoV in Laguna province, south of Manila,  where classes at a school near the local hospital were disrupted when a nurse who was found positive for MERS-CoV was initially brought there and may have had contact with other people there.

    “We had an earlier case back in February wherein a school [situated across from a hospital]in Laguna had minimal attendance due to fear,” he said.

    According to Luistro, DepEd’s protocols protecting the students from risk from a killer virus  have been enriched because of that experience.

    He, however, clarified that the Education department is not changing any protocol since the Philippines is still free from MERS-CoV.

    “[Protocols are] only changed when there is an official announcement from the Health department,” Luistro explained.

    The DepEd chief also assured the public that school children had been given proper information on how to be safe and healthy.

    “What is important is that the proper information about the virus is disseminated and our students and teachers are well informed,” Luistro said.

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