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DepEd allows distance learning amid extreme heat


MANILA, Philippines, April 25 ----- The Department of Education (DepEd) has reminded heads of public and private schools nationwide that they have the authority to suspend or cancel in-person classes and instead implement modular distance learning (MDL) modes amid extreme heat during summer months.


“In consideration of the well-being of the learners affected by extreme climate conditions as they attend in-person classes, this office reiterates DepEd Order 037, Series of 2022, titled ‘Guidelines on the Cancellation or Suspension of Classes and Work in Schools in the Event of Natural Disasters, Power Outages/Power Interruptions and Other Calamities,” the DepEd said in its Memorandum No. 2023-077 dated April 20.


The agency’s DO 037 provides for the implementation of MDL in the event of cancellation or suspension of classes due to natural calamities, disasters and human-induced hazards “to ensure learning continuity and that learning competencies and objectives are met. In its new memorandum, the DepEd specifically cited the “extremely high temperatures” as among the valid grounds for class suspension or cancellation.


“Additionally, and in relation to the announcement of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) last March 21, 2023, which marked the beginning of the warm and dry season ... this office reminds school heads of their authority and responsibility to suspend in-person classes and implement modular distance learning in cases of unfavorable weather and environment, such as, but not limited to, extremely high temperatures,” the memorandum read.


The DepEd acknowledged that extreme heat can “considerably affect the conduct of classroom learning and put the learners’ health and well-being at risk.” The agency directed schools division offices, through schools division superintendents, to monitor schools’ implementation of MDL during class suspension or cancellation and submit their reports to concerned regional directors. The DepEd’s memorandum came amid reports of some students collapsing or getting dizzy in the middle of their classes due to the extreme heat.


“The principals/school heads have been reminded of their authority and responsibility to suspend in-person classes and switch to alternative delivery modes (of learning) amid extreme heat, especially if the situation already puts the students’ health and safety at risk,” DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said in English and Filipino in a statement yesterday. Situations in our schools vary, that’s why we are giving the school heads the discretion or the authority to determine the appropriate action,” he added.


The memorandum came as PAGASA warned of hotter days ahead, especially in May. Last Saturday, heat indices of 48 degrees and 47 degrees Celsius were recorded in Butuan City in Agusan del Norte and Legazpi City in Albay, respectively, prompting the state weather bureau to issue an extreme heat danger warning. Heat index refers to the temperature felt by the human body relative to high humidity, according to PAGASA. The agency warned that higher heat indices could be expected next month.


Source: philstar.com

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