Classes suspended in 3 cities-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
CLASSES in all levels in public and private schools in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu are suspended today following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that damaged some school buildings.
Department of Education (DepEd) 7 Director Carmelita Dulangon called off classes in all public elementary and high schools across Central Visayas to ensure the safety of students while school officials inspect classrooms.
“Classes have to be suspended because some of the school buildings are very old and they need to be checked. They might have been damaged or cracked after the earthquake and simbako, masandigan sa mga bata, madisgrasya unya (God forbid, the damage might pose risks to the students),” she told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
She received reports that classrooms in a school in Olango Island in Lapu-Lapu City and classrooms in Barangay Bulacao in Cebu City were damaged.
Dulangon required all teaching and non-teaching personnel to report to their schools today to inspect classrooms and to seek the help of engineers and local officials to repair any damage.
Classes in public schools will resume on Thursday.
For the private schools, she said it will be up to the school administrators to decide when they will resume classes.
Dulangon said she was grateful the earthquake happened on a holiday, when all schools were empty.
“If it were a school day, it would have been very dangerous for our students,” she said.
In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama declared that there will be no classes in all levels in all schools today.
Rama ordered the suspension of classes until structural engineers can ensure the structural integrity of all school buildings.
As for private schools, Rama said their buildings will have to be checked by their own structural engineers.
For public schools, former city councilor Jose Daluz III, who heads the Local School Board, said the buildings will be checked by six engineers from their office.
Engineers from the private sector will also assist the City Government.
Willy Go of the Cebu Contractors Association said they have contacted 12 structural engineers from Manila to help the City evaluate public school buildings in the city.
They are scheduled to arrive today.
Based on the data from the command center at the City Hall yesterday, three public schools have been declared unsafe by the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW).
These are Oppra Elementary School in Barangay Kalunasan, Don Vicente Rama Memorial National High School in Barangay Basak San Nicolas and the Labangon Elementary School in Barangay Labangon.
They were declared unsafe after cracks were found on their structures and after some walls collapsed.
Engr. Kenneth Enriquez, DEPW chief, said that in Labangon, the wall on the third floor in one of the school buildings gave way.
“We are recommending that it should not be used and the area should be cordoned off,” she said.
Rama instructed the DEPW to work together with the school board to conduct more ocular inspections in the city’s public elementary and secondary schools, particularly those located in the mountain barangays to determine if there are other damages.
Once the inspection is finished, an assessment report will be submitted to the mayor’s office and a certification will be issued to each school whether a building is still safe to be used or not.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes also declared that there will be no classes in all levels in both public and private schools.
Mandaue City Public Information Officer Roger Paler said the suspension of classes will give them time to check damages, especially wall cracks that might put the lives of students and teachers at risk.
Among the schools that showed cracks are the elementary and high school in Subangdaku, Tipolo Elementary School, Mandaue City Central School and the Mandaue City Schools Division.
The Cebu Doctor’s University building at the reclamation area was also damaged. Its claddings fell on parked school buses.
Mayor Paz Radaza gave the same instructions to all school officials in Lapu-Lapu City since the City did not finish inspecting public and private school buildings yesterday.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2013.