Cebu schools reopen after 10/15 quake
School bells will again reverberate throughout Cebu when the clock strikes 7:30 a.m. today as campuses welcome students back into its fold after a two-week hiatus following a powerful earthquake that struck Central Visayas.
Bohol, where the epicenter of the earthquake was located and which suffered heavier damage than Cebu, will resume classes tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 5 as the province marks Carlos P. Garcia Day today.
Garcia — Bohol’s most illustrious son – was the nation’s 8th president who served as chief executive from 1957 to 1961.
While the resumption of classes signal Cebu’s full return to normalcy in the aftermath of the Oct. 15 temblor, teachers were directed to spend the first few hours of the day discussing their experiences to help students move on from the trauma.
Teachers had earlier undergone stress debriefing conducted by the Safety Disaster Coordinating Council, which they will echo to their students right after the flag-raising ceremony. The debriefing will include activities on disaster preparedness.
With many classrooms and school buildings in Cebu still in a state of disrepair, students in quake-damaged schools will be divided into morning and night classes. Tents were also put up as temporary classrooms.
In some schools, classes will be divided into morning sessions (from 6:20 a.m. to 12 noon) and afternoon classes (from 12:20 p.m. to 6:20 p.m.)
“We are scheduling the time slots of the subjects accordingly to fit the regular hours for class,” said Angtud.
“We will conduct classes on the ground floor level to avoid panic because of the ongoing aftershocks,” said Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud.
Aftershocks continue to rattle the region with the most powerful one felt on Saturday night registering magnitude 5.2 on the Richter scale.
At 7:04 p.m last night, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Sultan Kudarat, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The quake struck 195 kilometers southwest of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, Philvolcs posted on its website. The quake though was not felt in Central Visayas.
The Philippines lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin, which makes it prone to earthquakes.
Angtud said schools in barangays Apas, Labangon, San Nicolas, Gothong, Barrio Luz and Inayawan sustained major damage and are being prioritized for repairs.
A total of 12 classrooms in the second and third floors of Camp Lapu-Lapu Elementary School in Apas remain off limits.
“Repairs of the rooms are expected to be finished in one month, but there can be delays,” said the school’s principal, Teresita Manzanades.
In Cebu province, there are 804 classrooms declared unfit for occupancy. These are cordoned off to keep students away.
DepEd Provincial Superintendent Dr. Arden Monisit said the tents they requested have not yet arrived.
He submitted a report to the DepEd central office in Manila requesting funds for major repairs and for additional classrooms.
“Buildings which sustained major damage will not be repaired. We will demolish them, that’s why we are asking for budget on additional classrooms,” said Dr. Monisit.
In Mandaue City, eight of 47 public schools need major repairs.
With that, schedule of classes are also affected. For the high school, the four year levels will be divided into two groups wherein classes will be conducted three days a week. Graders will have a half-day classes scheme.
Among the schools that incurred major damage are: Umapad Elementary School, Labogon National High school, Canduman National High School, Cabancalan National High School, Tipolo National High School, Subangdaku Technical Vocational School, A.S. Fortuna Elementary School formerly Guizo Elementary School and Mandaue City Central School.
These were declared unsafe by Mandaue’s City Engineering Office and Office of the Building Official (OBO).
The first and third year high school levels will be taking their classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays will be the turn of second and fourth year high school students.
This will entail extra work for teachers, who are requested to “be patient.”
“Kaning among emergency classes kay maka meet ra gihapon ni sa number of subjects per week,” he added.
Some students in Mandaue are expected to attend classes today in gymnasiums and under the trees and tents.
“Until such time all buildings declared unsafe and damaged will be rehabilitated, we, for now will be using the emergency classes,” said Benjamin Tiongson, DepEd’s administrative officer.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday called on the public to remain vigilant.
As much as possible, he said in a press conference yesterday, parents should make the sacrifice of overseeing their children not just at home but also in school./CORRESPONDENTS JOSE SANTINO S. BUNACHITA AND CHIRSTINE ESTRELLA AND REPORTER JUCELL MARIE P. CUYOS