DepEd issues guidelines on suspension of classes during bad weather
By Bong Pedalino
Maasin City (June 14) -- Classes are automatically suspended in all public and private schools at the pre-school level when Typhoon Signal Number 1 is raised by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA).
Classes are automatically suspended in all public and private schools at the pre-school, elementary and secondary levels when Typhoon Signal Number 2 is raised by PAG-ASA.
These are two situations contained in Department of Education (DepEd) Order Number 28 series of 2005, regarding spontaneous stoppage of classes without need of official announcement from school authorities or others, on stormy times that are still applicable up to the present.
A copy of the said DepEd Order was faxed to PIA on Thursday in the form of a press release dated November 18, 2007, from the City Division Office, courtesy of Fiel Almendra, OIC-City Schools Superintendent.
On rare occasions in the locality when the PAG-ASA had declared a storm signal number 2 and yet it is sunny, classes would still be suspended, Almendra explained during the inter-agency convergence meeting held at barangay Laboon last month.
According to DepEd Order Number 28, DepEd does not have jurisdiction over tertiary schools, or colleges, and as such suspension guidelines here are referred to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
And in the absence of storm signals from PAG-ASA, such as in cases when there is continuous rain, "localized suspension of classes in both public and private schools, the pre-school, elementary and secondary levels can be decided by local authorities, including the DepEd Regional Director, DepEd Division Superintendent, School Principal, or Local Government Officials concerned."
Almendra clarified this to mean a continuous rain for four hours, wherein under such condition classes can be suspended even when there is no storm signal, and the Mayor can also call a suspension of classes in the same setting based on the DepEd order.
The DepEd directive even empowered parents, giving them "prerogative to determine whether or not their children should go to school."
"We have come with sufficient measures to protect our students from the ill effects of bad weather," DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus said.
He added: "By allowing the local authorities and parents to handle the situation, this policy gives a clear direction in cases where there is no typhoon warning issued by PAG-ASA."
As of 5:00 in the morning of June 12, PAG-ASA forecast a Low Pressure Area (LPA) 300 kilometers east of Mindanao, with coordinates at 7.5 degrees North, 129 degrees East, and a Southwest monsoon affecting Western Luzon.
LPAs usually bring rains in some places, with cloudy skies, and people living in areas that are vulnerable to flashfloods and landslides are duly warned to take precautionary measures. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]