Regions in the Philippines Shift to Online Classes Due to Extreme Heat

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To ensure the safety and well-being of learners and teachers, the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines has announced that eight regions will be shifting to alternative delivery modes for classes due to the sweltering heat. This decision comes as extreme weather conditions continue to impact various parts of the country.
Among the regions that have announced the shift are Quezon City and Caloocan City in the National Capital Region (NCR). Recognizing the need to adapt to the current weather conditions, these regions have decided to prioritize the welfare of their students and educators by opting for alternative delivery modes.
In addition to the NCR, other regions have also made similar announcements. Dagupan City in the Ilocos Region, Polangui in Albay in the Bicol Region, and the cities of Iloilo, Kabankalan, Silay, Himamaylan, and Bago, as well as Bacolod and Roxas City in Western Visayas, have all shifted to alternative delivery modes for classes. These regions understand the importance of providing a conducive learning environment for their students, even in the face of challenging weather conditions.
Moreover, three schools in Eastern Visayas and the Zamboanga Peninsula have also ordered blended learning. Maasin Central School in Maasin City, Pagadian City Pilot School, and Buenavista Integrated School have recognized the need to combine online and offline learning methods to ensure that students can continue their education effectively.
Furthermore, several local government units (LGUs) in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani have taken the proactive step of suspending in-person classes for learners and teachers. The LGUs of Banga, Tantangan, General Santos, and Polomolok have prioritized the safety and well-being of everyone involved by temporarily halting face-to-face classes.
This shift to alternative delivery modes and blended learning demonstrates the resilience and adaptability of the education sector in the face of challenging circumstances. By prioritizing the welfare of learners and teachers, these regions and LGUs are ensuring that education continues despite the sweltering heat.

Adjustments in Class Schedules and Modality

To address the extreme heat, the Navotas City Schools Division Office has adjusted the class schedules in public schools. During the highest heat index peaks, which occur from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., schools will be free of all students. For the morning shift, classes will run from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., while the afternoon shift will resume from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for elementary levels and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. for secondary levels.
Similarly, in Muntinlupa, Mayor Ruffy Biazon has announced the shortening of in-person classes until 10 a.m., with afternoon classes suspended due to the extreme heat. This decision was made to prioritize the safety and well-being of both students and teachers. The scorching temperatures can pose health risks, especially for young children, who are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. By reducing the duration of in-person classes during the hottest part of the day, the local government aims to minimize the exposure of students to the intense heat.
In Manila, the Division of City Schools has given school heads the discretion to suspend face-to-face classes amid hot weather conditions. In a memorandum, Dr. Nerissa Roxas Lomeda, Chief Education Supervisor and Office of the Superintendent Officer in Charge, stated that in-person classes should be the default modality, except in extreme cases. School principals have the authority to make decisions regarding class programming, but they are reminded of their accountability for learning outcomes. This flexibility allows schools to adapt to the changing weather conditions and prioritize the safety of students and staff.
To mitigate the heat inside schools, teachers and students are allowed to wear more comfortable clothing, provided that it adheres to the appropriate clothing guidelines set by the Civil Service Commission. This adjustment recognizes the need for individuals to dress in a way that allows them to stay cool and comfortable in the sweltering heat. However, it is important to strike a balance between comfort and maintaining a professional appearance. The guidelines ensure that clothing choices remain appropriate and respectful within the school environment.
In addition to adjusting class schedules and clothing guidelines, schools are also taking measures to create a more conducive learning environment during hot weather. This includes providing adequate ventilation and cooling systems in classrooms, ensuring access to clean drinking water, and organizing outdoor activities in shaded areas or during cooler parts of the day. Teachers are encouraged to incorporate lessons on heat safety and hydration into their curriculum, educating students on the importance of staying hydrated and protecting themselves from excessive heat exposure.
Overall, these adjustments in class schedules and modality aim to prioritize the well-being and safety of students and teachers in the face of extreme heat. By implementing these measures, schools can ensure a conducive learning environment while minimizing the risks associated with high temperatures. As climate change continues to impact weather patterns, it is crucial for educational institutions to remain adaptable and proactive in addressing the challenges posed by extreme weather conditions. The call for adequate infrastructure and maintenance in schools is not just a matter of comfort, but a crucial aspect of providing quality education. The current conditions in many schools, with overcrowded classrooms and poor ventilation, not only make it difficult for students to concentrate but also pose health risks. Inadequate infrastructure can lead to a higher risk of accidents and injuries, as well as the spread of infectious diseases.
Moreover, the lack of proper maintenance can result in deteriorating facilities, which further hampers the learning process. Leaky roofs, broken windows, and malfunctioning electrical systems are just a few examples of the issues that need to be addressed. These problems not only affect the physical well-being of students and teachers but also create a negative learning environment that hinders academic performance.
Investing in the construction of additional classrooms and the improvement of ventilation systems is an urgent need that cannot be ignored. The government, especially the Department of Education (DepEd), must allocate sufficient funds for this purpose. It is not enough to focus solely on academic programs and curriculum development; the physical infrastructure of schools must also be given equal attention.
In addition to the construction of new classrooms, regular inspections and maintenance of existing facilities are essential. This includes addressing any immediate repairs needed and implementing preventive measures to avoid future issues. By prioritizing infrastructure and maintenance, we can ensure that schools provide a safe and conducive learning environment for all students.
Furthermore, it is crucial to involve all stakeholders in this process. Parents, teachers, and students should be consulted to identify specific needs and concerns regarding infrastructure and maintenance. Their input can provide valuable insights into the areas that require immediate attention and help in developing long-term plans for improvement.
In conclusion, the call for adequate infrastructure and maintenance in schools is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed urgently. It is not only about providing a comfortable learning environment but also about ensuring the safety and well-being of students and teachers. By investing in infrastructure and maintenance, we can create an environment where students can thrive academically and reach their full potential. The government, in collaboration with all stakeholders, must take immediate action to prioritize this crucial aspect of education.

Source: The Manila Times

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