Tell it to SunStar: Summer school blues

By Renester P. Suralta
Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

It is summertime, says the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). With the end of the northeast monsoon, it declared the start of summer in the Philippines.

What would be the harmful impact of the season on our health? The simple advice to avoid summer diseases such as heatstroke is to drink plenty of water and avoid exposure to sunlight. Then, minimize unnecessary outdoor trips and activities during the summer season.

What would be the deadly impact of summer classes in many public schools? Once again, the lack of a conducive classroom is in jeopardy by worse weather conditions. Higher temperatures and drier conditions during April and May bring extreme discomfort to students and teachers in congested or overcrowded classrooms.

In response to the imminent danger, Department of Education (DepEd) 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said that under DepEd Order 37 of 2022, public and private school heads and principals have the discretion and are authorized to shift to modular classes in cases of unfavorable weather and environment, such as, but not limited to extremely high temperatures.

The DepEd order has the remarkable intention to provide measures to minimize the effects of the hot and humid weather. But can distance learning and the use of modules help or sustain effective learning at respective homes? The last pandemic speaks otherwise. The absence of teachers with unprepared teacher-parents resulted in students’ mental stress and learning loss. We are now in the learning recovery period, so why use the same modality?

The plan to shift back to the original academic school year from June to March is still very far away on SY 2026-2027. It means students will continue to suffer the scorching temperature of the sun for another school year. The agency is loyal to its mandate to follow the number of school days. How about the health condition of the learners and teachers?

Perhaps Congress can intervene through legislation or the executive order of the President with the strong support of the DepEd secretary, who has the heart of the people.


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