DepEd urged to suspend classes in typhoon-ravaged areas
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) should suspend classes in areas ravaged by powerful typhoons Rolly and Ulysses, a lawmaker said Monday.
Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo said that DepEd can give its regional, provincial, city, and municipal officials the discretion to determine areas in Bicol, Cagayan Valley and Metro Manila where online learning could be suspended for a specific duration.
“It is only humane to allow students to recover physically and mentally in the next few weeks. Grades should not add the burden the academic community has to face in difficult times,” Castelo said in a statement.
Castelo said that during the proposed suspension, education and local officials could clean school houses submerged by flooding, while telecommunication companies are repairing damaged vital infrastructure.
Local officials could also relocate evacuees housed in schools in case teachers need to use the classrooms, she added.
Castelo pointed out that many students have no electricity, no access to water and other basic resources after the typhoons that hit parts of the country only a week apart from each other.
She added that tens of thousands of Filipinos were also displaced and road and communications infrastructure were damaged.
“Distance learning amid COVID-19 is no longer a case of sufficient Internet access. Students have no electricity, no access to water and other basic resources – all while having to deal with the threats of this pandemic,” Castelo pointed out.
“The least we can do to help those in typhoon-ravaged communities in these trying times is give students and teachers and their families a respite from academic work,” she added.
Further, Castelo said that telecommunications companies are still trying to restore service in typhoon-hot areas.
“Until such service is restored and there is strong, sustainable connectivity, distance learning is not possible,” Castelo said.
After a series of typhoons that hit the country just this month of November, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said at least three more tropical cyclones are expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) before the end pf the year.
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