#WalangPasok during distance learning? DepEd says depends on situation

Since classes will be done remotely this year, will there still be class suspensions in case of typhoons?

For the Department of Education (DepEd), class suspensions will depend on the situation in an area.

"Since normally, ang suspension marami kapag maulan wala ng pasok.... Personally, ang tingin ko dapat walang pasok sa araw ng bagyo pero hindi siya kasing haba nang dati. Pero 'yung atin na class suspension on the account of heavy rain, hindi na siya mangyayari," Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said in a virtual press briefing on Monday, September 14.

(Before the pandemic, whenever there was heavy rain, classes were already suspended. Personally, there should be no classes on the day itself of the typhoon, but not as long as before. Our class suspension before on the account of heavy rain, it won't happen anymore.)

San Antonio added that classes may be suspended in areas suffering from an electric blackout, especially where students use the online platform for their distance learning.

"For those using online siguro (maybe), yes. Pero 'yung mga gumagamit ng printed modules, 'yun lang mismong day nag-aayos sila (But for those using printed modules, maybe only on the day that they are fixing their houses)," San Antonio added.

San Antonio, however, said it will be local government units that will declare class suspensions.

The country got its first tropical cyclone in 2020 last May, as Tropical Depression Ambo formed off Mindanao.

The Philippines gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year.

Modular learning is the "backbone" of the DepEd's distance learning. Other modes of learning such as online, and TV and radio broadcasts would supplement the modules. (READ: Is it safe? Teachers fear exposure to coronavirus in modular learning setup)

But a number of private schools in the country are using online learning this year.

The decision to open classes in the middle of a pandemic was met with criticism. Students and parents pointed out that their household finances have been affected by almost 6 months of lockdown, and they could not afford to buy the tools needed for the revamped education system. (READ: No student left behind? During pandemic, education 'only for those who can afford')

DepEd shifted to distance learning for the coming school year to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte's directive for schools to delay face-to-face classes until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.

As of Monday, September 14, a total of 24,448,014 pubic and private students have signed up for school opening. This is 3 million lower than last year's 27.7 million enrollees.

Public schools are set to open on October 5, while some private schools have begun their classes in August. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.