TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Education (DepEd) is adopting anew learning modalities similar to what were adopted at the height of coronavirus pandemic to lessen the impact to children of the extreme heat being experienced in the recent weeks.

The DepEd regional office said at least 19 schools have suspended the conduct of full face-to-face classes and instead opted for modular, online and a blended modular and face-to-face classes that will lessen the time spent in schools.

Social media posts in recent weeks showed cases of fainting among teachers and students as well as incidence of epistaxis or nose bleeding on children due to the heat.

The extreme weather condition also exposed long-drawn problems of many public schools such as overcrowding in classrooms, lack of ventilation, absence of electricity and abject condition like the absence of a ceiling that would have lessen the heat coming from the roof.

Jazmin Calzita, DepEd regional information officer, said five of the 13 schools districts under DepEd-8 have granted flexibility of holding the classes for the 19 schools – four in Ormoc City, four in Baybay City, three in Tacloban City, six in Biliran and two in Leyte.  

She added that except for the three schools in Tacloban City, which has shifted to a blended in-person and modular learning, all the 16 schools have adopted modular distance learning. Six more schools in Tacloban City will start shifting to modular learning starting next week.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) station in Tacloban City has consistently monitored a temperature of above 40 degrees Celsius in some times of the day during the weekdays since Monday.

Calzita said the DepEd Order 37 issued in 2022 allows school heads to cancel face-to-face classes due to natural calamities, disasters and human-induced hazards to ensure learning continuity as long as learning competencies and objectives are met.

She said that in lieu of classroom classes, the school may opt for modular distance learning. She added that this was emphasized during the regional management committee meeting to the schools division superintendents. “The principal or school heads are also reminded of their authority and responsibility to suspend in-person classes and switch to alternative delivery modes (of learning) amid extreme heat, especially if the situation already puts the students’ health and safety at risk,” she said. By Elmer Recuerdo (EV Mail May 8-14, 2023 issue)