MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 3) Classes at all levels in Metro Manila and in 12 provinces are suspended Monday due to typhoon-spawned floods, education officials announced Sunday.
Considering the risk of floods, schools will also be closed in the provinces of Cavite, Batangas, Rizal, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Pangasinan, Benguet, La Union and Ilocos Norte, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said.
"Furthermore, and depending on actual conditions in a locality, the local government and school authorities may exercise their discretion to suspend classes. The safety of our students and teachers shall remain paramount," Lapus said in a statement.
The Commission on Higher Education made the announcement of suspension of tertiary level classes Sunday evening, hours after the Department of Education said pre-schools up to high schools in the said areas would be closed Monday due to the typhoon.
Lapus said the suspension of classes in other areas will be covered by an existing policy, based on storm signals.
Classes in the elementary level are automatically suspended in areas placed under Storm Signal No. 1, while classes up to the high school level will be suspended in areas under Signal No. 2.
Only areas under Storm Signal No. 3 will have classes suspended until the college or tertiary level.
Packing sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 150 kilometers per hour, the typhoon "Frank" (international codename: Fengshen) shifted course Sunday to the northwest and battered Manila at dawn, dumping heavy rain on the capital.
Moving northwest at 15 kilometers per hour, the storm is expected to exit through the western coast of Central Luzon by Sunday evening.
Floods, storm surge, and landslides killed at least 229 people while over 700 others were missing. With Joel Guinto