When are classes cancelled or suspended?
The rainy season started at just about the same time that classes in the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels nationwide began.
While the country has already been accustomed to bad weather during this time of the year, students and parents still get confused when classes are cancelled or suspended.
In the past, websites like May Pasok Ba and twitter account Walang Pasok were the go-to places for students who didn't know where to look for announcements.
Finally, in January 2012, President Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order No. 66 which includes the complete rules on the cancellation or suspension of classes.
It has been over a year since the executive order was issued, but a little reminder won't hurt as we welcome the rainy season.
1. When there is a storm signal, cancellation or suspension of classes is AUTOMATIC.
In the event of a storm signal raised by PAGASA, the executive order provides for a cancellation or suspension of classes following a standard set of guidelines:
Signal No. 1: Cancellation or suspension of classes at the pre-school level in the affected area
Signal No. 2: Cancellation or suspension of classes at the pre-school, elementary, and secondary level in the affected area
Signal No. 3 or higher: Cancellation or suspension of classes at the pre-school, elementary, and secondary and tertiary levels, including graduate schools in the affected area
Weather forecasts by PAGASA and NDRRMC must come not later than 10 am of previous day and 4:30 AM of the day of the intended cancellation of classes. For the afternoon session, the forecast must be issued not later than 11 am.
2. During other calamities such as floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis, wait for the announcement of your local government units (LGUs), and not the Department of Education (DepEd).
In the middle of class suspensions in at least 19 schools in the metro on Thursday, June 13, DepEd reminded everyone that it does not declare suspensions.
"The government recognizes the need to streamline the procedure in suspending classes,” Education Secretary Br Armin Luistro FSC said on Friday, June 14.
He added that evaluation of the local situation is best done by those "on the ground.”
Flooding in various parts of Metro Manila, even in the absence of a storm signal, remains to be a challenge to schools that lie along these areas.
Last year, the Asian Development Bank ranked the country 4th most vulnerable to flooding in Southeast Asia, with Quezon City in the top 40 Asian cities vulnerable to inland flooding.
During calamities like floods, earthquakes or tsunamis, local government units (LGUs) are mandated to announce the suspension or cancellation of classes, in coordination with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Announcements must be done not later than 4:30 am on the day of the intended cancellation of classes, or not later than 11:00 am for the afternoon session.