By Ryan Sorote

The Department of Education (DepEd) has directed staff in Negros Oriental to undergo self-isolation following last week’s visit by Manila-based employees who may have caught the coronavirus.

Dr. Salustiano Jimenez, DepEd Central Visayas director, told PressOne.PH the directive to self-isolate was given on the evening of Tuesday, March 23.

Jimenez, however, said it was not yet clear who among those who visited Negros Oriental contracted the virus.

Over 20 personnel arrived in the province from Manila in batches, headed by Deped Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones was supposed to join the delegation, but with the reimposition of travel restriction in the National Capital Region, she stayed in Manila and joined the activities virtually.

Another 10 personnel from the DepEd Central Visayas Office visited the province, said Jimenez.

“I am positive that those who came from Manila got tested before coming here (in the Visayas). We (from the regional office) also took a swab test before proceeding to Dumaguete,” he said in Bisaya. “We made sure that we were negative when we came to Negros Oriental.”

DepEd executives and regional officials visited the province to distribute learning equipment and inaugurate school buildings at school divisions in Bayawan, Guihulngan, Bais, Tanjay, Dumaguete, and the mother division of Negros Oriental.

All those who met with guests from DepEd Manila were sent home Wednesday afternoon and told to self-isolate. Local health authorities have yet to comment on the incident.