In the midst of the scorching heat the region is currently experiencing, teachers as well as students could barely focus on the discussion at hand as many classrooms here have not been fully restored after Odette, the most destructive typhoon of 2021, ravaged the area.
As a matter of practice, classes are only suspended due to severe weather conditions brought about by heavy rains and floodings. But with the severity of the effect of unbearable heat in these summer days, the Department of Education advised school heads of public and private schools nationwide that they could suspend or cancel classes. Instead, they could implement distance learning modules to keep up with lessons.
Was it alarming that DepEd Eastern Visayas reported no cancellation of classes in April when the region recorded a very uncomfortable and whopping 40 degrees Celsius in Tacloban and even higher in several areas in Samar.
While the education system needs to keep up with the literacy fallout caused by the pandemic, also to be considered is the convenience of teachers and students making it difficult to focus. Classrooms, as they are not yet fully equipped, do not have proper ventilation.
Several students prefer skipping classes or would rather go home than feign they could still focus on lessons. One claustrophobic student admitted suffocating in the high temperature. Electric fans emit hotter air failing to cool its surrounds. Teachers and students could collapse or suffer from heat stroke given the exposure.
With the call of duty, teachers could not complain but expressed that the former schoolyear — from June to late March— was more ideal as summer heat does not peak until mid-April. Every region varies and this southeastern part of the country is notorious for heat waves.
Faced with this grounds, at what point would school authorities consider suspension? Do they have to wait for DepEd to mention specific conditions before declaring suspensions?