Classes resume under tents for Central Visayas children-A A +A
Sunday, November 3, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Hundreds of classes in Bohol and Cebu will resume under tents and other temporary shelter today, nearly three weeks after an earthquake damaged or wrecked classrooms in Central Visayas.
About 804 classes in Cebu Province will be held in principals’ offices, home economics classrooms, social halls and other non-academic rooms, said the Department of Education (DepEd).
Dr. Arden Monisit, DepEd Cebu provincial superintendent, said 804 classrooms, both in elementary and high schools, were declared structurally unsafe by DepEd engineers after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the region last Oct. 15.
In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama appealed to parents not to leave their children by themselves today, if they can arrange for time off, to help the kids in case of aftershocks.
DepEd earlier disclosed that there are 531 out of the total of 3,445 classrooms in the 122 public elementary and secondary schools in Cebu City that have been declared unsafe for occupancy.
At least 15 classes in four public schools in Cebu City will meet under tents today.
In an interview yesterday, Department of Education (DepEd) Cebu City Division Superintendent Dr. Rhea Mar Angtud told Sun.Star Cebu these tents are in the Kalunasan Elementary School, Labangon Elementary School, San Nicolas Elementary School and the Gothong Memorial National High School.
“They should oversee the children because we can’t be too sure (about what could happen) in between,” Rama said in a news conference yesterday.
As of 4 a.m. yesterday, 3,198 aftershocks have been recorded since the quake that struck Central Visayas at 8:12 a.m. last Oct. 15, reported the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Nearly 2,800 classrooms were damaged or destroyed in Bohol, where the epicenter of the quake and nearly all of the aftershocks was located.
The quake killed 222 persons and injured 976 others. It also damaged or destroyed P2.25 billion worth of schools, bridges, roads, hospitals and other public infrastructure.
Some P71.5 million worth of assistance has been distributed by government and private sector groups in the last three weeks.
As part of preparations for the resumption of classes, the police will be positioned in different schools under the Oplan Balik Eskwela (Oplan Back to School).
Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), said the annual campaign is initiated by the Department of Education (DepEd) and enforced in coordination with other agencies, communities and interest groups.
In Cebu City, the police will also oversee seaports and terminals as students from different provinces return to Cebu.
“Aside from the students, many will also be coming back to work after the long holiday,” said Senior Supt. Noli Romana, director of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
The tents in Cebu City’s schools came from the City Government.
Angtud said “emergency classes” will have to be held in some schools, which means two classes will share the same room—one meeting in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Other schools that were damaged by the earthquake in Cebu City include Camp Lapu-Lapu Elementary School, Apas National High School, Tejero Elementary School and Barrio Luz Elementary School.
In previous interviews, Ester Cubero of the City’s Local School Board said they were targeting to repair all the damaged schools by December this year.
The repairs, estimated to cost P30 million, will be handled by engineers and carpenters of the school board.
In the province, Dr. Arden Monisit, DepEd Cebu provincial superintendent, said about 804 classrooms, both in elementary and high schools, were declared unsafe after the quake.
In some cases, one class will use a room from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and another class can use it from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The unsafe classrooms have been cordoned off, as a warning to students to keep away.
Superintendent Monisit said no one was allowed to get inside to save any equipment and other things. He also said the estimated cost of the repairs and construction of new classrooms in Cebu Province is P300 million.
The report was already submitted to the DepEd Central office.
If the children need to go home, in case strong aftershocks persist, the teacher has the number of the parents so that they can call them to pick their children, Monisit added.
In Mandaue, where eight of 47 public schools have severely damaged classrooms, school officials will implement schemes to maximize the use of classrooms.
Benjamin Tiongson, administrative officer of DepEd’s Mandaue City Division, said pupils in affected elementary schools will be divided into morning and afternoon classes.
In high schools, first year and third year students will have their classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while second year and fourth year students will have their classes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Schools with badly damaged buildings are the Umapad Elementary School, Labogon National High School, Canduman National School, Cabancalan National High School, Tipolo National High School, Subangdaku Technical Vocational School, A.S. Fortuna Elementary School and the Mandaue City Central School.
Tiongson said some buildings in these schools were declared unsafe by the City Engineering Office and the Office of the Building Official.
Some classes in these schools will also be held in gymnasiums. Tiongson said they will avoid using tents as these are not conducive for learning especially on sunny days.
Tiongson appealed to teachers to bear with the adjustments, which will require more effort on their part.
The principals will orient their teachers about the class schemes today.
“Until all unsafe buildings are rehabilitated, we will implement these schemes,” he said.
In Lapu-Lapu, classes will be held normally, as no school building in the city was declared unsafe following the earthquake.
Elena Berame, administrative assistant at DepEd Lapu-Lapu City Division, said the earthquake caused only hairline cracks to some school buildings.
Engineers sent by DepEd Central Office have declared that school buildings in the city remain structurally safe, Berame said.
The city has 14 high schools and 24 elementary schools.
Berame said teachers will conduct stress debriefing sessions for their pupils tomorrow. Teachers underwent training during the school break.
The City and DepEd have also formed a task force to monitor the schools.
Mayor Paz Radaza initially declared that classes will resume on Oct. 21, six days after the earthquake. But she decided to move the schedule to Nov. 4 after a strong aftershock occurred on the morning of Oct. 21, while students and teachers were in schools.
In Pinamungahan, Mayor Glenn Baricuatro said about 350 elementary students will use makeshift classrooms after seven classrooms of Lamac Elementary School were destroyed.
The classrooms will have to be demolished to make way for a new building.
Pinamungahan used P200,000 from its quick-response fund to prepare for makeshift classrooms. Tents were provided.
The towns of Boljoon, Madridejos and Dalaguete have also prepared for today’s resumption of classes.
Dalaguete Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante said there were classrooms that showed new cracks, but these were already taken care of.
A two-storey building in the Dalaguete Central Elementary School was destroyed, and students who used those classrooms will be transferred to other rooms.
In Madridejos, Mayor Salvador dela Fuente said some classrooms sported new cracks but were declared structurally sound. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 04, 2013.