Suspending The Classes In Schools

Classes in the public school system and some private schools opened last week and the very first suspension of classes in Luzon area happened last Thursday due to a typhoon or storm that hit the area. Such suspension of classes whether in pre-school, elementary, high school or college level has always been an issue in the Philippines. Suspending the classes as I discuss here refers to instruction for schools to close for the day due to inclement weather. In the past, such instruction usually comes late and causes confusion among students and their parents.

The inclement weather due to storm could make going to school and returning to home very difficult for students especially those of young age. Streets in some areas would get flooded by rains and practically all modes of transportation would stop. Getting wet by the rain would also endanger the health of the school children.

The current automatic suspension of classes in areas affected by a tropical storm is based on the guidelines issued by the Department of Education and the rules are as follows:

  • Classes in pre-school level in all public and private schools will be automatically suspended with Storm Signal Number 1.
  • Classes in pre-school, elementary and high school in all public and private schools will be automatically suspended with Storm Signal Number 2.
  • Classes in all levels are automatically suspended with Storm Signal Number 3. DepEd does not have jurisdiction over tertiary schools (college level), and as such, suspension guidelines for colleges and universities are referred to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
  • In the absence of typhoon signal warnings from the Weather Bureau (PAGASA), localized suspension or cancellation of classes in both public and private elementary and secondary schools may be implemented by the school principal.

The latest official pronouncement about suspending classes in schools is contained in DepEd Order No. 81, s. 2010 that reiterated the compliance to the above guidelines as contained in NDCC Memorandum No. 9, s. 2007 and emphasized that announcement must be made not later than 10:00 PM of the previous day. Ironically, these two (2) documents made mention of DepEd Order No. 28, s. 2005 as a reference on the subject but this official document covered Brigada Eskwela (National Schools Maintenance Week) and not about suspending the classes in schools.

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