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DepEd releases new class suspension guidelines during disasters, natural calamities

In this file photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, rescuers carry a child as they assist residents who were trapped in their homes after floodwaters caused by Typhoon Rai inundated their village in Negros Occidental, central Philippines on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. A strong typhoon engulfed villages in floods that trapped residents on roofs, toppled trees and knocked out power in southern and central island provinces, where more than 300,000 villagers had fled to safety before the onslaught, officials said. (Philippine Coast Guard via AP)

The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday issued a revised guidelines on the suspension of classes during disasters or natural calamities now that learners are attending in-person classes.

“If the tropical cyclone wind signal (TCWS) is issued at a time when classes have already begun, the school shall immediately suspend the classes and work and send everyone home, if it is safe to do so.However, schools are obligated to keep the students and personnel safely in school if travelling is unsafe,” Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte said in DepEd Memorandum Order No.37 dated September .

The memo added that online and in-person classes in all levels in basic education (kindergarten to senior high school) will now be “automatically cancelled or suspended” in areas covered by flood, typhoon or rainfall warning issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. 

Duterte said she decided to issued the revised guidelines to ensure that the students and teachers right to life, health and safety are always protected. 

“This policy promotes the safety and protection of learners and personnel from unnecessary dangers that they may be exposed to during natural disasters and calamities,” Duterte added.  

Meanwhile, local chief executives shall decide on the cancellation ot suspension of classes in areas where there are strong winds in specific or all areas of the LGU but is not due to typhoon. 

In the case of earthquake, the order said online and in-person classes will also be automatically suspended in areas where the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology have declared a tremblor with the agency’s Earthquake Intensity Scale V or above. 

“School principals can cancel classes at any Intensity Level if in their assessment, buildings and other structures are seen to be in danger of collapsing or is found to have major damage,” it said. 

Mayors shall decide on the cancellation of classes in cases where the Earthquake Intensity Scale is IV and below. 

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