Ched 7 clarifies: Only LGU, educational institutions can suspend classes

Ched 7 clarifies: Only LGU, educational
institutions can suspend classes
File photo

THE Commission on Higher Education in Central Visayas (Ched 7) said it has no authority to suspend classes in universities and colleges in response to mounting worries expressed by students, particularly those in tertiary-level institutions, amid the scorching heat experienced in Cebu.

The Commission said the decision-making rests with the individual education institutions.

A college student took to her Facebook account on Thursday, April 25, 2024, to call on Ched regarding the suspension of their classes, asking “Ched, ano na (Ched, what’s next)?” This came after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia announced on Wednesday, April 24, that she would not lift the imposed suspension of face-to-face classes in the province.

Garcia, in her Memorandum 22-2024, issued on April 5, said that “all classes are suspended until further notice,” due to the unusually high heat index in Cebu Province, which poses a risk to the students’ well-being. The memorandum was addressed to all mayors in Cebu Province and the Department of Education.

Ched said that while they set the guidelines and standards for higher education institutions (HEIs), including protocols for class suspensions, the decision-making authority should rest with the HEIs or the local chief executives.

A Ched officer, who requested anonymity, said that based on their memorandum, the Commission does not issue cancellations or suspensions of classes.

The officer was referring to Ched Memorandum Order 15, which cites that local government units and HEI heads or their duly authorized representatives are mandated to make announcements regarding class cancellation or suspension not later than 4:30 a.m. on the day when the cancellation or suspension takes effect. For midday suspensions, the announcement must be made no later than 11 a.m.

Additionally, they also outlined that during typhoons, classes in affected areas will automatically be canceled or suspended when Signal No. 3 is raised by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

HEIs are also advised to monitor announcements from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in areas where disasters and calamities are present and to exercise discretion in making decisions regarding class suspensions to ensure the safety of students.

Heat index

Meanwhile, Cebu recorded a heat index of 36 degrees Celsius at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Weather specialist Jhomer Eclarino from Visayas Pagasa Regional Services Division told SunStar Cebu that this figure is lower than those recorded in the past days.

Cebu experienced a record-high heat index of 39 degrees Celsius for three consecutive days starting from Monday, April 22 until Wednesday, April 24.

Enclarino still urged the public to adhere to safety practices as they remain under the extreme caution category, meaning heat cramps and heat exhaustion are possible with prolonged activity under the sun.

The heat index accounts for both temperature and humidity, reflecting how hot it feels to the human body. / KJF


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