Understanding the rules on class cancellations and suspensions

John Christopher Amodo
PUBLISHED October 5, 2017 01:59 pm
Illustration by Mark Renacido/Inside Manila

(Inside Manila) Albeit weather bulletins from the state weather bureau are often at odds with what meets the eye, the public, particularly the students, can’t help but comply with the rules, battling downpour with a dazed confusion at the back of their heads. So the question is: “When are classes canceled or suspended?”


Looking back, websites like the simple and neat May Pasok Ba and the Twitter account Walang Pasok were the young’un’s favorite shortcut to weather announcements.


By the virtue of Executive Order No. 66 signed on January 9, 2012, by then President Benigno Aquino III, the muddle was finally put to rest; the rules on class cancellations or suspensions, as well as those of the government offices, are finally clarified. Here’s a refresher.


Classes are suspended automatically when there’s a storm signal


May it be public or private elementary, secondary, or tertiary school, even government offices, a storm signal raised by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) calls for the following guidelines:


Signal No. 1: Automatic cancellation or suspension of classes at the pre-school level in the affected area.


Signal No. 2: Automatic cancellation or suspension of classes at the pre-school, elementary, and secondary level in the affected area.


Signal No. 3 or higher: Automatic cancellation or suspension of classes at the pre-school, elementary, and secondary and tertiary levels, including graduate schools, as well as government offices in the affected area.


Announcements are to be released by PAGASA and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council not later than 10 a.m. of the previous day and 4:30 a.m. of the day of the intended cancellation of classes and work. For the afternoon shifts, it must be posted not later than 11 a.m. of the said day.


Classes can be suspended by local government units


Contrary to popular belief, the Department of Education isn’t responsible for class suspensions in the event of calamities, just as the Commission on Human Rights is not mandated as a law enforcement agency unlike the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


Cancellation and suspension of classes are observed directly from the state weather bureau. In the absence of storm signal warnings, “localized cancellation or suspension of classes and work in government offices may be implemented by local chief executives.”


Announcements are to be released by LGU officials not later than 4:30 a.m. for a whole day cancellation or suspension, or not later than 11 a.m. for the afternoon shifts.


 


Ultimately, the decision whether students should go to school or not falls onto their parents. It’s their role to practice discretion on this matter in the presence of dangers that loom above, with or without weather forecasts.

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