22 Cebu towns, cities suspend in-person classes

22 Cebu towns, cities suspend in-person classes
(Photo from Pixabay)

TWELVE more local government units have ditched full face-to-face classes, bringing to 22 the total number of local government units in Cebu that have adopted changes and implemented the alternative delivery mode of learning as sweltering heat continues to grip Cebu due to the high heat index.

Last Wednesday, April 3, 2024, SunStar Cebu already reported 10 local government units (LGUs) that suspended their face-to-face classes: Lapu-Lapu City, Liloan, Consolacion, the City of Naga, Talisay City, Toledo City, San Fernando, Ronda, Minglanilla and Cordova.

However, more municipalities have followed suit in suspending face-to-face classes and encouraging a shift to the online or modular mode of learning.

As of 4:20 p.m. Thursday, these were the municipalities and the periods of suspension:

- Poro (April 4-5, public and private schools, all levels);

- Asturias (April 4, 1 p.m. - April 12, all public schools);

- Badian (April 4-19, public schools, pre-elementary to senior high);

- Tuburan (April 4-5, public and private schools, elementary and secondary levels);

- Tabogon (April 4-6, public and private schools, all levels);

- Balamban (April 4 12 noon – until further notice, public schools, pre-school to senior high);

- Sibonga (April 4-12, all public schools);

- Medellin (April 4-12, public and private schools, pre-school to senior high);

- Compostela (April 5-12, public and private schools, pre-school to senior high);

-San Remigio (April 5, public schools, elementary and secondary levels);

- Tabuelan (April 4-5, public schools, all levels)

These LGUs will implement modular learning where learners have self-learning modules, either in print or digital format, that is usually implemented for those living in rural areas or provinces with intermittent internet connection.

Mandaue City is the lone LGU that is implementing a blended learning approach.

In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama announced Thursday that he would issue an executive order moving the time of classes in school to 6 to 11 a.m. only.

According to the Cebu City Public Information Office, Rama said he would leave the school heads in the city to decide on the suspension of face-to-face classes due to the heat as he had already issued Executive Order 1 in August 2022, authorizing them to declare class suspensions amid calamities and weather disturbances.

Cebu Normal University in Cebu City announced that classes for the Integrated Laboratory School, college and graduate school including in its external campuses in Balamban and Medellin towns would use the online modality on April 4-12.

Blended learning

Mayor Jonas Cortes issued Executive Order 18 on Wednesday in response to the rising heat index, which has been disrupting the conducive learning environment for students attending face-to-face classes.

They will adopt blended learning in public schools from daycare, and kindergarten to senior high school starting Thursday, April 4, until the end of the month.

Blended learning combines traditional face-to-face teaching with online instruction. This means that physical classes will continue with adjustments for student safety and comfort during the dry hot season.

“It was recommended that a shift from full face-to-face classes to a blended learning mode of partial face-to-face and modular mode would be the best course of action in all public schools in Mandaue City as a precautionary action to the increasing heat index,” Cortes said.

The mayor said schools will categorize and divide classes into two groups or sets of students to ensure proper ventilation, spacing, and prevent overcrowding, which may worsen the effects of high temperatures.

Set A learners will attend face-to-face classes from 6 to 11 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday, while Set B learners will do the same but on Tuesday and Thursday, with the modular mode to be used thereafter.

Meanwhile, Friday will be allotted to students who will need intervention or further help from the teacher.

The City added that blended learning will also be applied to daycare students.


Director Salustiano Jimenez of the Department of Education Central Visayas (DepEd 7) told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday that these LGUs possess the authority to suspend face-to-face classes similar to the procedures during typhoons and other calamities.

Additionally, aside from local chief executives, Jimenez said in a prior interview that both public and private school administrators also have discretion and authorization to transition to modular classes.

According to DepEd Order 37 of 2022, such decisions are permitted “in cases of unfavorable weather and environment, such as, but not limited to extremely high temperatures.”

Heat index

Based on the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (Pagasa) heat index database, Cebu will reach 37 degrees Celsius on Thursday and a higher 38 degrees Celsius on Friday, April 5.

Both figures fall under Pagasa’s extreme caution category, meaning heat cramps and heat exhaustion are possible, and further activity may result in a heatstroke.

SunStar Cebu previously reported that the heat index in Cebu could potentially reach a “dangerous” 51 degrees Celsius in the coming months, leading to heat cramps, exhaustion and potentially heatstroke with prolonged outdoor exposure.

Weather specialist Jhomer Eclarino of Pagasa Visayas attributed the increase in the heat index to the El Niño phenomenon and the ongoing dry, hot summer.

He said historical data from Pagasa indicates Cebu typically experiences its highest temperatures in May.

On May 31, 2010, during the El Niño phenomenon, the province recorded a surface temperature of 37 degrees Celsius, coinciding with its highest heat index in history of 49 degrees Celsius.


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