Guv suspends classes in public elementary, secondary schools

TO AVOID risking students’ health due to the extreme heat, the Cebu Provincial Government has suspended all classes from kindergarten to Grade 12 in the public schools in the entire province starting Friday, April 5, 2024, until further notice.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued on Friday Memorandum 22-2024, suspending classes immediately due to the high heat index. She directed the Department of Education (DepEd) in Cebu Province and mayors under the Provincial Government to strictly enforce the memorandum.

Garcia did not specify if only face-to-face classes were suspended.

Before Garcia’s memo, some public schools in the province were encouraged to transition to online classes and revert to distance learning, following earlier declarations by mayors suspending face-to-face (F2F) classes due to hot weather.

In a text message on Friday, April 5, DepEd Cebu Province superintendent Dr. Senen Priscilo Paulin told SunStar Cebu that they will abide by the governor’s directive in the interest of their learners and personnel.

However, Paulin had yet to respond to SunStar Cebu’s inquiries about how DepEd plans to make up for missed classes to meet the required number of school days.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez regarding the affected school days, but he had yet to respond as of this writing.

Mixed reactions

In an online forum posted on SunStar Cebu’s Facebook page on Friday, netizens shared mixed reactions to the suspension of classes.

Some netizens commented that the suspension could result in a longer school year, while others feared that students might just use their free time for outdoor activities and vacations.

“Dili man cguro kinahanglan i-suspenso ang klase. Pwede man gud mag online or di kaha mag module lang sa mintras tanto. Para dili pud mabiya sa mga angay buluhaton sa skwelahan,” a netizen commented.

(I don’t think it’s necessary to suspend classes. It’s possible to have online classes or just use modules in the meantime. This way, students won’t miss out on schoolwork that needs to be done.)

In separate interviews, a student and some parents expressed preferrence to maintain their current class schedule and setup, arguing that class suspension could delay students’ academic progress.

Josef Toquero, a senior high school student, disagrees with the implementation of a partial suspension of face-to-face classes, as he thinks this might affect their time and studies in school.

“If I declare ni siya nga from 6 to 11 a.m., maka benefit sad mi ana, pero murag ma delay pud ang pagtudlo sa teacher sa students kay naa ra bay subject na sa hapon siya klasehan. Tapos mostly eight subjects ra ba tas dili maigo sa kana ra nga oras,” said Toquero.

“For me, I don’t agree with the suspension, because the children will just be using their gadgets more,” said Junesya Yta, a parent of two school-aged children, in Cebuano. “If they are in school, at least someone is supervising them and they can dedicate more time to their classes.”

Emma Canasa, another parent, said as long as her children’s classrooms are not crowded and are properly ventilated, suspension of classes is not required.

Meanwhile, despite these reservations, a parent acknowledged the necessity of the measure.

“For me, it’s better if the classes will be suspended. It’s best to extend the suspension to the whole day because of the heat. Because even if they will move the classes to 6 to 11 a.m., they will still experience the intense heat at noon,” Ma. Joji Mendajaol, a concerned citizen, said in Cebuano.

Garcia’s order came after the declaration of 22 local government units (LGUs), 20 of them under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government, that they would suspend F2F classes and modify the delivery mode of learning. These LGUs include the municipalities of Asturias, Badian, Balamban, Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Medellin, Minglanilla, Poro, Ronda, San Fernando, San Remigio, Sibonga, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Tuburan, and the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Naga, Talisay, and Toledo.

These LGUs have implemented alternative delivery modes of learning, such as shifting to online or modular printed modes, adjusting to half-day class hours, and adopting a blended learning approach, based on the locations of schools, considering internet connectivity.

Mandaue City, which first implemented the blended learning approach, has altered it and mandated the suspension of face-to-face classes.

The Cebu City Government, however, has granted school principals discretion in the suspension of classes. However, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has proposed a shift to partial face-to-face classes from 6 to 11 a.m.

Jimenez last Wednesday said LGUs can suspend face-to-face classes in times of calamities. He said public and private school administrators are authorized to transition to modular classes “in cases of unfavorable weather and environment, such as, but not limited to high temperatures,” by DepEd Order 37 of 2022.

Weather bureau Pagasa forecast a 38 degree Celsius heat index or apparent temperature in Cebu for Saturday, April 6. / EHP, with reports from Jay Adobo and Joshua Usigan / BIPSU Interns

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