Class suspension during calamities now with LGU
Automatic cancellation of classes during typhoons will still be based on the storm signal sent out by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) but the Department of Education (DepEd) will no longer be announcing class suspension. The responsibility now lies with the local government officials as they are in a better position to assess the local situation.
This is contained in Executive Order no. 66 signed by President Aquino on January 9, 2012. Based on that, DepEd then crafted DepEd Order 43 to guide its regional, division and school officials on actions to take in times of calamities and adverse weather conditions. The order applies to both public and private schools.
Based on the aforementioned DepEd Order, the following guidelines still apply: When Signal No. 1 is raised by PAGASA, public and private pre-school and kindergarten classes in the affected areas are automatically suspended. At Signal No. 2 the suspension will also include elementary and secondary classes. When Signal No. 3 is announced, classes in all levels and work in all DepEd offices are cancelled. Depending on the signal announced between 10 pm and 4:30 am the following day, classes in appropriate levels for the whole day are deemed automatically suspended.
In the absence of typhoon signals from PAGASA, localized suspension of classes in both public and private schools and work in government offices may be implemented by the local chief executive in their capacity as chairpersons of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC).
Also, based on the recent inter-agency Oplan Balik Eskwela Task Force meeting, PAGASA will include in its weather bulletin not only the storm signal but the reminder to suspend classes depending on the storm signal.
The order further stipulated that any decision to suspend classes must come from the local government. A school head may only cancel or suspend classes in cases where urgent action is needed to prevent bodily harm or loss of lives.
Concerned local DepEd and private school officials are directed to coordinate closely with LGUs in times of inclement weather.
Based on the EO, LGU officials are expected to announce cancellation of classes not later than 4:30 am for whole day cancellation and 11:00 am for afternoon class suspension.