What You Need to Know About the Health Break for Students

Jan 23, 2022

As the pandemic happened in the first quarter of 2020, it is not only the country’s economy that has been greatly affected by the surge. It affected business, industries, and even the high demand for investments such as stocks, retirement plans, bonds, and even property like the condo in the Philippines. More to these is the sector considering the educational system and the institutions here in the country. 

Institutions had to stop their operations such as not allowing teachers, admin personnel, students, and the likes to go to the school premises for safety purposes. Students, who are taking their degrees and such, had to stop attending school physically in a snap. At first, it was favorable for some, so the much-needed rest and required safety will be possible, yet as time goes by, it became frustrating.

No one knew it would take this long. No one did.

Looking back to the years when there is no pandemic, that every student is still allowed to go to school and attend their classes physically without being cautious of the surrounding, it was really fun. Yet this fun has been exhausting from time to time. From the usual 8 AM to 5 PM class, excluding those college students who have night classes, it is indeed an exhausting routine every day. 

The never-ending academic and extra-curricular activities and requirements are the things we need to comply with as we go along the school year. These responsibilities require a big time and effort to accomplish but also give a massive recognition once done. It does feel a great achievement for a student to accomplish something worthwhile as a part of the student body. Since it is becoming worthwhile, we sometimes tend to get more chances when it comes to grabbing another extra-curricular activity and more. Thus, it will automatically be instilled in your mind that if you take on this challenge, you will get another achievement. This is self-satisfaction to be exact; it gets addicting for quite some time. 

Every time you acquire a new achievement, you unconsciously acquire another responsibility then the cycle continues. Then one day, you see yourself getting stressed, pressured, and unmotivated. You start seeing yourself getting no motivation to get up and do what needs to be done. You feel sleepy and tired even though you just woke up a couple of minutes. You thought that maybe it was just some sort of “deprived of good sleep”, but days passed by, you no longer get excited to wake up, study, and do extra-curricular activities. 

You then figured out that you don’t want it anymore. There is no more excitement, dedication, and willingness in your heart. You just want to rest, and get away from all of your school responsibilities. You dreamt that the world would at least give you time to breathe and rest without thinking of your requirements, but you knew that it is very impossible to happen. 

Then one day, a pandemic happened. The world stopped operating, you rejoiced. 

“Finally, I can rest!”. Good news for you! Although it seemed scary at first because of the never-ending reports and news of the infected individuals pertaining to COVID-19, it is a relief for you that you can now rest from all of your school requirements and just enjoy or aspire or plan and set your goals settled back on track such as getting beginner’s investment in a condo living set-up, soon.

Meeting your professors and friends seemed so impossible also, yet there is an accessible internet connection in your area, that’s why you are assured that you can still reach out to them from time to time. With the first few months of the lockdown, everyone had the chance to rest and escape the pressure of school, and even with the people who work (not under the medical line and concerned government officials and agencies). Everyone suddenly had ample time to rest and bond with their family and loved ones, which was being deprived of them for a long time due to school and work responsibilities. 

After a few more months and for about a year, everything is going well and an adaptation to online classes, webinars, and the likes has been an alteration to physical classes. With this, the school and the student body slowly adapt to the new normal of schooling. Everyone started to enroll and attend classes online, furthermore, starting to accomplish and navigate other school activities virtually. 

It is very hard at the very first thought because not everyone has enough access and materials for the online class, yet faculty and students tend to adapt to it as much as possible. Greater efforts and sacrifices were being done to go along with the school year amidst the danger of the COVID-19. 

In the middle of the pandemic, you still have a pile of school requirements to be submitted every other day. Seeing your portal stating your pending requirements makes you think and feel that you need to manage your time wisely and effectively because you have a requirement to be submitted in school, even though there is still danger outside. 

This pertains to the scenario wherein school personnel, faculty and students had to go to school within their schedule so they can submit their requirements for a certain time or week. This can be seen that the situation is quite better than the previous season. With this situation, everyone was able to meet their classmates and professors physically. Nonetheless, the fact that the issue is still not resolved, there is still danger that we must be cautious about. 

As everyone tries to adapt to it, the pressure and exhaustion start to come along. It starts to overpower your mind again and feel that online class is very much different than attending class physically. It may seem that you can reach out to your friends and classmates for school-related concerns, yet their presence means much more to feel relieved and assured that you are not alone with the pressure. 

More so, with the fact that COVID-19 cases in the country still exist as well with the new Omicron variant, everyone is still prone to contracting the virus. That is, this leads to a more serious matter between staying at home or going to school more cautiously and responsibly. 

Later on, you see yourself “unmotivated” and “unsafe” AGAIN. You suddenly feel that even though you are just in your home, you still need some break from school. Highlighting that the Omicron variant and COVID-19 cases begin to rise and increase again, you consciously start to weigh which is more important of the two. Ironic, right? Yet this is the reality. 

Another phase of your student journey; is that you are wishing that the world will allow you another health break due to huge school backlogs and the pandemic. Hearing reports that some teachers from various areas are getting infected by COVID-19, leads to an alarming case of safety for both the school and student body. Neither so, a healthy and safer environment is what you want for yourself and the people around you. 

That is, a weeklong “health break” was declared to the city of Manila to secure the safety of teachers, students, and parents to the increasing number of infected individuals in the area. As Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso (Mayor of Manila City) said, this is somewhat a breather also for the parents who have exerted a lot of effort and support for their children and loved ones in the time of the pandemic. 

This health break is to control initially the increasing number of teachers and students being infected by the virus. This concerns a lot to the educational system as well as the family of the infected individuals themselves. The anxiety level should also be prioritized in this time of uncertainty since mental health is also valuable to every one of us, more importantly with the teachers and student body

The said academic health break covers both private and public schools at all levels, both synchronous and asynchronous classes. It is also advised that within this health break period, it is not allowed to give students homework or requirements. Thus, this health break is to let students and teachers, and even their family members and loved ones who are infected recover and fully administer their health status at first, as per Mayor Marcelino Teodoro (Mayor of Marikina). 

After a survey that reveals that fifty percent (50%) of teachers in Metro Manila are getting COVID-19 symptoms, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called for a two-week health break for areas under Alert Level 3 to control initially situations and possibilities like this. Moreover, DepEd released a memorandum allowing its regional and school division offices to regulate the suspension of classes within their respective jurisdictions and COVID-19 status.

On the other side, according to CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera, a total of 134 universities and colleges have declared an academic break from January 1 to 13, 2022; 16 HEIs are from NCR and 53 HEIs are in Region IV-A both under Alert Level 3 status. For the time being, there is still no declared academic break from HEIs in Regions V, VIII, X, XII, and MIMAROPA. 

These are the areas that declared academic health break from January 14 – 29, 2022 :

  • Manila (all levels, public and private) – Jan. 14 to 21, 2022
  • Pasay (all levels, public and private) – Jan. 15 to 22, 2022
  • Marikina (all levels, public and private) – Jan. 17 to 29, 2022
  • Valenzuela (all levels, public and private) – Jan. 15 to 22, 2022

From Kindergarten to high school: 

Some LGUs declared class suspension from these areas : 

…and these are open for future updates.

Contradictory to the call for academic health break, Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said that a nationwide academic health break is not a consideration because the schools’ division and regional offices have been given the authority to suspend classes and teaching activities under their distinction of the situation in their area. 

Moreover, according to CHED, the declaration of academic health breaks for universities can be handled by the university’s judgment and decision. 

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