MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education this week issued comprehensive guidelines on the suspension of classes in public and private schools based on policy Malacañang released in January.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro issued DepEd Order No. 43 “to streamline the procedure on the suspension of classes and work in government offices” and spare the public “from unnecessary dangers” in times of typhoons, flooding and other disasters or calamities.
The order advised education executives, regional and division officials, school heads and teachers in both public and private schools and even parents to monitor weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) through media to see whether automatic suspensions cover their students.
Under the order, classes in pre-school and kindergarten are automatically suspended in areas under Storm Signal No. 1.
Classes on pre-school, kindergarten, elementary and high school levels are also automatically suspended in areas under Storm Signal. 2. DepEd employees may meanwhile skip work when their localities are under Signal No. 3.
DepEd said whole-day suspensions will take effect in areas Pagasa places under storm signals from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. of the following day. Hence, classes in the appropriate levels are deemed automatically suspended in areas placed under a storm signal the night before or at dawn of the same day.
Half-day suspensions shall take effect in areas placed under storm signals at 11 a.m.
Parents and students should no longer wait for official announcements and follow the automatic suspension guidelines in case of weather disturbances or other calamities.
Local chief executives have the prerogative to suspend classes in case localized suspension is necessary, for instance in the event of flooding (even without a storm signal), earthquakes, tsunami, landslides and fire.
Luistro said local school officials should keep open communication lines with local officials in such cases. School heads may only effect class cancellations “in cases where urgent action is needed to prevent loss of life or bodily harm.”
Luistro also called on parents to exercise proper judgment.
“DepEd still maintains that parents have the ultimate responsibility for determining whether their children should go to school, even if no order for cancellation/suspension of classes has been issued if they feel that travelling to or from school will place their children at risk,” he said.