Blackout forces suspension of classes in 733 public schools in 3 provinces

(Francis Allan Angelo photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

The prolonged power outages in Panay Island have forced the suspension of classes in at least 733 public schools.

The number could go higher if private schools and higher education institutions were also taken into account.

The Department of Education (DepEd) – Region 6 said it had received reports of 733 public schools offering basic education that suspended their classes on Jan. 3 and 4 due to massive power outages.

Hernani Escullar Jr., Dep-Ed 6 regional information officer, said the majority of these schools are in the city and province of Iloilo.

Escullar said the local chief executives were the ones who declared the suspension of classes in 26 localities.

There were 67 schools in Iloilo City, including Iloilo National High School, that suspended their classes while there were hundreds in the province.

Among the local governments ordered the cancellation of classes in Iloilo province are Estancia (14 schools); Pavia (12); Leon (40); Calinog (52); Balasan (19); Anilao (21); Lemery (31); San Miguel (10); Dueñas (30); Barotac Nuevo (30); Maasin (38); Alimodian (39); Barotac Viejo (31); Bingawan (17); San Dionisio (26); Banate (15); and Passi City (45).

Meanwhile, schools that suspended classes in Capiz province are in Sigma (24); President Roxas (21); Sapi-an (24); Maayon (33); Dumarao (38); and Pontevedra (22).

According to Glenda Marie B. Botin, project development officer ll of the Department of Education(DepEd) school division of Capiz, the said students could not concentrate on their lessons during class hours because of the intense heat inside the classroom due to lack of ventilation powered by electricity.

In Aklan, there are only two municipalities that suspended their classes. These are the towns of Kalibo (21) and Numancia (13).

Escullar said they subscribed to the wisdom of the local chief executives.

He said that the two days of class suspension could have an impact on the scheduled activities intended for the learners.

“But nevertheless, we, at the DepEd-6, together with the school divisions, will coordinate with those schools that suspended their classes on how to cover up the number of days that the learners have missed,” Escullar said.

But he said that it’s up to the school head and the teachers to design their strategies depending on the prevailing situations.

“What’s important is that the learning areas that need to be tackled would be covered up,” Escullar said.

Make-up classes would still be subject to the approval of school division superintendents.

What’s important, he added, is for schools to meet the minimum of 200 and the maximum of 220 school days.

Esculllar said the DepEd acknowledged the fact that it’s a risk for learners to go back to school if there’s no stable power supply in the area.

“It won’t be a conducive learning environment for them given that it’s humid and there would be no adequate ventilation,” he said.

In announcing the suspension of classes in Iloilo City for the past two days, Mayor Jerry Treñas cited the exposure of “the children and students to the effects of heat and humidity which may lead to heat-related illness exacerbated by lack of adequate sleep or general feeling of drowsiness; and possible exhaustion from travel or commute.”

“Returning to school may further result in unfavorable classroom conditions given that some have no electricity and will not promote a positive learning environment,” he said.

Given the developments and expected risks involved in the return of students to their respective schools, per the advice of our City Health Office, we hereby order the suspension of classes in all levels, both public and private, pending the return of power in Iloilo City, the mayor earlier said. (With a report from Felipe V. Celino)