THE Department of Education (DepEd) has re-uploaded on its website Department Order 37, the new guidelines on class cancellation or suspension due to natural disasters or calamities, which is now in effect.
DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said DO 37 took effect last September 20 after it was filed with the Office of the National Administrative Registrar (ONAR) and uploaded on the DepEd website.
Based on the new guidelines, in-person and online classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and the Alternative Learning System (ALS) will be automatically canceled in areas with tropical cyclone wind Signal Nos. 1 to 5 by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
Local chief executives may also decide on class suspension if their localities have prevailing strong winds but were not issued a TCWS.
As Super Typhoon “Karding” passes through Central Luzon from Sunday to Tuesday, classes in areas that will be placed by Pagasa under TCWS signals 1 to 5 on Monday will be canceled, based on DO 37.
Similarly, in-person and online classes are automatically canceled from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and ALS in areas issued by Pagasa with an Orange or Red Rainfall Warning, while local chief executives may decide on class cancellation for areas with a Yellow Rainfall Warning or in cases of torrential rain.
For floods, in-person and online classes are also automatically suspended from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and ALS in specific areas issued with a Flood Warning by Pagasa. Likewise, local chief executives may decide on class cancellation in cases of flooding but were not issued a flood warning by the state weather bureau.
In-person and online classes will also be automatically suspended from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and ALS in areas where the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) declared an earthquake with an Intensity 5 or above, as local chief executives may decide on class cancellation for areas under Intensity 4 and below.
Similarly, principals may cancel classes at any intensity if their assessment, building, and other structures are in danger of collapsing or are found to have major damage.
“Parents or guardians have the ultimate responsibility for determining whether their children should attend classes in consideration of their physical and/or mental health during disaster and calamities. This applies even if no order for cancellation or suspension of classes has been issued. Nevertheless, it shall also be the responsibility of the parents or guardians to ensure that their child is able to catch up with the competencies that the learners should master,” DepEd emphasized.
Automatic cancellation of work also applies in situations where in-person and online classes are automatically canceled.
The DepEd noted on DO 37 that modular learning, performance tasks, projects, or make up classes will be implemented in the event of canceled or suspended classes to “ensure that learning competencies and objectives are still met.”
It also said that learners who will miss learning activities due to class suspensions should be accorded consideration in their attendance and the completion of their learning tasks.
The Education department also indicated in the order that schools may not be used as Covid-19 quarantine, isolation, or vaccination centers, but may be used as an immediate evacuation site for other disasters. However, this should not last for more than 15 days, as schools are also not allowed to be used by local government units as long-term shelters for evacuees.