More areas suspend onsite classes due to extreme heat

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
More areas suspend onsite classes due to extreme heat
Students use a cardboard box to protect themselves from the sun during a hot day in Manila yesterday. More than a hundred schools nationwide have shut their classrooms and resorted to alternative learning modes due to sweltering temperatures, which have hit danger levels.

MANILA, Philippines — More areas across the country have suspended onsite classes due to unbearable classroom conditions brought about by extreme heat, according to the Department of Education.

The DepEd said that as of yesterday, all classroom instructions had been defaulted to alternative delivery mode (ADM) in Quezon City, Caloocan City and Navotas City in Metro Manila; General Santos City; Polangui, Albay; Polomolok, South Cotabato; Maasim, Sarangani and the province of Sultan Kudarat.

In Pangasinan, the municipalities of Mangaldan, Sta. Barbara, Mapandan, Calasiao and San Manuel have suspended onsite classes.

In Central Luzon, Malolos City and Calumpit in Bulacan began implementing ADM yesterday, while Angeles City in Pampanga will implement it starting today.

Areas that will implement ADM in the Visayas include Passi City, San Carlos City, Sipalay City and the province of Biliran.

In Mindanao, onsite classes have been suspended in the following schools in Cotabato: Carmen Central District, President Roxas North and Kabacan District; and the following elementary schools in Koronadal City, South Cotabato: Sto. Niño, Marbel 3, Esimos Cataluna, Marbel 5, Manuel Dondiego, Mangga, Marbel 4 and Carpenter Hill.

Areas that have been in ADM since Monday are the cities of Dagupan, Iloilo, Kabankalan, Silay, Himamaylan, Bago, Bacolod and the municipalities of Banga and Tantangan in South Cotabato.

Onsite classes also remain suspended in the province of Negros Occidental, Maasin Central School, Pagadian City Pilot School and Buenavista Integrated School in Zamboanga City.

Adjustments in Camanava

Public schools in Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas also adjusted class schedules yesterday in response to high heat index.

Caloocan announced that classes shifted to blended learning in all levels for public schools for their Tuesday afternoon classes.

Grade 6 pupils, however, remained in school as they were taking the National Achievement Test (NAT).

In Malabon, the city’s schools division office (SDO) released guidelines for canceling classes during extreme heat conditions to ensure student safety.

The SDO said that when the heat index reaches 42 degrees Celsius or higher, onsite classes will be automatically suspended, with teachers shifting to ADM.

Blended learning will be initiated at a heat index of 41 degrees Celsius, with students grouped based on their learning levels.

In Navotas, all public schools will implement adjusted class schedules on days with a heat index of 40 degrees Celsius and higher, according to the local government.

Morning sessions will be from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., while afternoon sessions for elementary and high school will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

The local government said that students would be off-campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the peak period for high heat indices, with the remaining hours allocated for asynchronous activities.

Private schools in Navotas with air-conditioned classrooms have been told that they have discretion over their schedules.

Suspension in Malolos

Mayor Christian Natividad of Malolos City in Bulacan has suspended onsite classes from kindergarten to grade 12 in all of its public schools yesterday and today.

In an advisory, Natividad said the suspension of classes was in consideration of the safety and well-being of the learners and faculty affected by the intense heat in the city on those dates.

Modular or online distance learning should be closely monitored and supervised by the school head and supervisors.

Private schools are given the discretion to decide to shift to distance learning, depending on the condition of the learners, faculty and school facilities. The administration of the Grade 6 NAT today, however, will proceed as scheduled.

Cancellations in Pangasinan

In Dagupan City, Pangasinan, Mayor Belen Fernandez, who was informed about the concern of teachers and students on the rising heat index, has given school principals the go-signal to decide on the cancellation of classes based on the weather condition.

Dagupan recorded a heat index of 43 degrees Celsius last Monday.

Judge Jose de Venecia Sr. Technical-Vocational Secondary School principal Renato Santillan said they have suspended face-to-face classes because students could not bear the hot weather as they are only using electric fans in classrooms crowded with 40 to 45 students.

Santillan and other school principals have agreed to revert temporarily to modular distance learning.

At least five more local government units in the province suspended onsite classes from pre-school to senior high school (SHS) both in public and private schools yesterday due to the forecast high heat index: Mangaldan, Calasiao, Sta. Barbara, Mapandan and San Manuel.

Mangaldan Mayor Bona Fe Parayno issued Executive Order No. 2024-017, series of 2024 suspending onsite classes from pre-school to SHS in the town starting yesterday until the same is lifted.

The order said that based on the heat index chart, 43 degrees Celsius falls under the “danger” category, where heat cramps and heat exhaustion are likely, and heat stroke is probable with continued exposure.

The suspension of classes was made after a consultation with the municipal disaster risk reduction and management council to protect and safeguard the health of learners.

The order “highly encouraged” online classes.

Calasiao Mayor Kevin Roy Macanlalay, Sta. Barbara Mayor Carlito Zaplan and Mapandan Mayor Karl Christian Vega also signed EOs suspending classes.

Not the mayor’s call

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday stressed that it is not his call to suspend classes in the city, but rather the schools,’ following the resolution filed by Councilor Rey Gealon urging the mayor’s office to do so due to the rising heat index.

“Mayors should not just be the ones suspending (classes),” Rama told reporters in a phone interview, after Gealon sent a copy of his resolution requesting the mayor’s office to suspend class in all levels, should it be necessary and should the dangerous heat index persist.

Gealon’s resolution has also been motivated by a warning given to the public that the heat index in Cebu in the coming months may reach up to 51 degrees Celsius.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration - Visayas weather specialist Jhomer Eclarino declared that a heat index of 51 degrees Celsius is categorized as “dangerous.”

Rama emphasized that as much as he wanted to be “sensitive” with the students, he would leave the decision-making to educational institutions.

Modular learning in Zamboanga

The extreme heat index has also forced many public and private schools in Zamboanga City to shift to modular learning, a measure adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, to protect learners from exhaustion and avert the interruption of classes.

The city schools division has instructed public schools, particularly those extremely affected, to romp up the flexible learning instructional program such as shifting from face-to-face to modular type of learning.

DepEd regional heads and superintendents are authorized to adjust class schedules so that students and teachers can avoid hours when the heat is intense, according to an education official. — Mark Ernest Villeza, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Jun Elias, Cesar Ramirez, Iris Hazel Mascardo/The Freeman, Roel Pareño, Rhodina Villanueva, Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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