SCHOOLS should be given autonomy to decide on their face mask policy, an opposition senator said after the Education department announced that it would follow the President’s order lifting the face mask mandate except in public transportation and health facilities.
“Although the voluntary wearing of face masks can be aligned with the national policy, due to the condition and limitations of our schools, especially public schools, we strongly encourage that schools be given flexibility in adopting optional face mask policies as part of their safety protocols and mechanisms,” Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said in a mix of English and Filipino in a statement on Thursday.
She explained that each school would have its own health risk assessment and administrators would be in the best position to determine their respective conditions and limitations.
Ms. Hontiveros said requiring children to wear a face mask remains a proven safeguard against the coronavirus, especially as public schools returned to full face-to-face classes on Nov. 2.
“It has taken us almost three years to open up our schools. It is our duty to keep children safe in our schools and increase parent confidence in keeping schools open,” she added.
Several parents interviewed by BusinessWorld prefer to make children wear a mask in school.
March Clarissa M. Tiongson, a mother of children in elementary and high school levels, said she disagreed with the government’s decision to make masks optional.
“It is even better to wear a mask to prevent simple diseases such as colds and coughs. You can’t avoid children’s negligence where they just wipe their cold or cough without covering their mouths,” she said in Filipino in a Facebook chat.
Similarly, Rialyn I. De Los Trinos, a housewife raising a high school student, said she also did not agree with the national policy “because I want to make sure that my child is safe and does not get infected with any virus.” — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan