Philippine Daily Inquirer

Zambo on-site classes off until dry spell ends

Zamboanga City mayor orders suspension of in-person sessions in schools, sets flexible work schemes for gov’t workers amid rising heat

- By Julie S. Alipala @alipalajul­ieINQ

CITY—To avert any untoward incident among students due to the rising heat brought about by the dry spell, the local government here has ordered the general suspension of in-person classes and immediate shift to online instructio­n in all levels.

Mayor John Dalipe issued the order on April 5 and was effective immediatel­y, upon the recommenda­tion of the local government’s El Niño task force.

The task force noted that the dry spell has caused water scarcity in the city since March that affected all schools. Learners also had to contend with water shortage, apart from bearing the heat which has averaged 40 degrees Celsius here.

Executive Order N0. 2024025 covers public and private schools in all levels, and is effective until the end of the dry spell, which could be in June.

According to City Administra­tor Wendell Sotto, onsite classes may resume if the heat index in the succeeding days, per forecast of the state weather bureau, falls below 40 C.

If on-site classes are onsenior going and the heat is rising, school administra­tors can call these off, Sotto added.

On Monday, the Philippine Atmospheri­c, Geophysica­l and Astronomic­al Services Administra­tion’s (Pagasa) five-day heat index forecast showed average heat here to register at 39 C on Thursday.

Dalipe also ordered school officials to ensure sufficient supply of water in their campuses before deciding to hold on-site classes.

Vinnie Gerard Elicano, program specialist of the Schools Division Office of the Department of Education, said they have already prepared for this.

Employees also covered

“All school personnel and learners are advised to bring their own drinking water. For the use of comfort rooms and other activities needing water, coordinati­on with the school and community was already establishe­d,” Elicano added.

Dalipe also ordered the adoption of flexible work schedules for government workers that enable employees who belong to vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, the elderly, persons with disabiliti­es and those with medical conditions, to work from home.

Dalipe directed government agencies to allow appropriat­e comfortabl­e clothing apart from their regular uniforms to help combat the heat.

The flexible work scheme includes three-hour shifts for traffic enforcers and night shifts for street sweepers.

In South Cotabato province, at least nine local government­s had modified learning delivery to deal with the rising heat.

Afternoon classes are suspended in Koronadal City, and the towns of Polomolok, Tupi, Tantangan, Banga, Sto. Niño and Tboli.

In the town of Surallah, on-site classes are only held every Monday and Tuesday, and online for the rest of the week. In Norala town, in-person classes are only held every Tuesday and Thursday.

These modified class schedules end within the week or next week, except in Koronadal City where the local government set the schedule as “indefinite.”

 ?? —RICHARD BALONGLONG ?? LEISURE SPOT A former American rest and recreation base, Camp John Hay, shown in this file photo, is now one of the top leisure spots in Baguio City, where visitors can enjoy its golf course, hotels, parks, restaurant­s and other shops. The government and its private developer, however, has been locked in a legal battle over the terms of its developmen­t.
—RICHARD BALONGLONG LEISURE SPOT A former American rest and recreation base, Camp John Hay, shown in this file photo, is now one of the top leisure spots in Baguio City, where visitors can enjoy its golf course, hotels, parks, restaurant­s and other shops. The government and its private developer, however, has been locked in a legal battle over the terms of its developmen­t.
 ?? OFFICE —PHOTO FROM ZAMBOANGA CITY INFORMATIO­N ?? EID PRAYER Muslims attend the Eid al-Fitr congregati­onal prayer at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex in Zamboanga City on Wednesday. The service ended just before it sweltered.
OFFICE —PHOTO FROM ZAMBOANGA CITY INFORMATIO­N EID PRAYER Muslims attend the Eid al-Fitr congregati­onal prayer at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex in Zamboanga City on Wednesday. The service ended just before it sweltered.

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