Ways to keep kids schooled surface from floodsBy Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon
SAN PEDRO, Laguna—Floods in Calabarzon that could linger for up to two months in some areas are drastically changing school habits and pushing education officials to think out of the box to find ways to keep children from missing their classes.
Some schools in the region would “adopt” students who couldn’t go to school because their classrooms are under water, according to Pacita Lungcay, education program supervisor of the Department of Education for Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon).
Schools that had been spared from floods would serve as the new schools of students from flooded areas, said the DepEd official.
Another way that officials could keep students attending classes is to bring the classes to the students, said Lungcay.
Teachers would be sent to evacuation centers to hold classes there for children displaced by floods, she said.
One school where this arrangement could work is San Juan Elementary School in Taytay, Rizal, which had been turned into an evacuation center for flood victims, according to DepEd regional director Lorna Dino.
Evacuees staying at the school, said Dino, would be asked to give way to classes during the day.
According to Dino, multigrade classes would also be held. The arrangement would allow classes for Grades 1 and 2 to be held at the same time in a classroom, she said.
Floods have displaced 11,798 families in Rizal and 22,158 families in Laguna, according to a report of the regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
In Laguna alone, 153 of 202 evacuation centers are schools while 52 schools in the province are also flooded.
The disaster council report said 40,433 textbooks had been destroyed and 269 classrooms in parts of Laguna, Rizal and Cavite had suffered damages.
“The flood has really disrupted classes,” said Librada Salazar, DepEd district supervisor in Cabuyao City, Laguna, where 14 schools had been turned into evacuation centers.
She said teachers had distributed “self-learning kits” to students in flooded areas in Cabuyao and would meet students once a week in evacuation centers for classes.
“There were instances when teachers fall off bancas on their way to the flooded areas,” Salazar said. “They ended up laughing,” she said.
Heavy rains in recent days increased water level in Laguna lake. While lake-water level dropped to 13.77 meters last Friday to inch closer to its normal level of 12.5 meters, officials said the rate of decline in water levels was too slow that floods in areas around the lake could linger for up to two months.
“And that is if the weather stays fair,” said Emil Hernandez, hydrologist at the Laguna Lake Development Authority.
Twenty-six lakeshore towns and cities remain under water, according to officials. These are San Pedro, Biñan City, Sta. Rosa City, Cabuyao City, Calamba City, Los Baños, Bay, Victoria, Calauan, Pila, Sta. Cruz, Kalayaan, Paete, Pakil, Pangil, Siniloan, Famy and Mabitac in Laguna province; and Jalajala, Pililia, Tanay, Morong, Cardona, Taytay, Baras and Angono in Rizal province.