Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has reiterated the city government’s implementation of localized suspension during inclement weather.
The city government’s Memorandum Circular No. 10-A s. 2022 provides the guidelines for suspending classes due to typhoons, flooding, other weather disturbances, and calamities. The said memorandum is based on the Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 037 s. 2022.
Mayor Belmonte explains the need for such guidelines: “Our city is the largest city in the Metro and constitutes around 1/4 of the entire region’s land area. There are instances when it will rain hard in Fairview in District 5 and not a single drop in Tatalon in District 4. Sometimes, light to moderate rains in Bagong Silangan (District 2) will cause flooding, but will not have the same effect in N.S. Amoranto (District 1). Then there’s climate change causing extreme and sudden weather changes. That is why we need to implement a localized suspension scheme otherwise, the education of the students in the entire city will suffer.”
The localized guidelines provide that onsite and online classes in all public schools from kinder to Grade 12 are automatically suspended when the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) declares: (1) a tropical cyclone wind signal; (2) an orange or red rainfall warning, or; (3) flood warning. Classes from Kinder to Grade 12 (Senior High School) in public schools are also suspended when the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) announces an earthquake warning with Intensity V or higher.
However, should there be no PAG-ASA warning, the guidelines provide that the QC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (QC DRRMC) shall recommend a city-wide suspension based on their pre-disaster risk assessment.
If there is no DRRMO announcement by 4:00 am, barangays will have until 4:30 AM to announce a suspension of morning classes in public schools in their respective jurisdictions.
In consideration of afternoon classes, QCDRRMC may recommend a city-wide suspension no later than 10:00 am. In the absence of such, barangays shall have until 10:30 AM to announce localized suspension of the afternoon classes in public schools.
Moreover, the city government is giving private schools the discretion to suspend classes or follow the city-wide or localized guidelines as requested by some private school administrators and based on DepEd Order No. 37-s2022. Private school authorities are in the best position to suspend classes since they know where their learners live and how they get to school.
Mayor Belmonte stressed that the welfare of the children are of paramount importance, and that their parents or guardians will not be faulted for not allowing their children to attend classes during bad weather conditions.
“We understand their concern. Therefore, we advise them that the children are considered excused from school activities if they cannot attend classes due to weather conditions,” Belmonte added.
DepEd-QC Schools Division Office Head Carleen Sedilla assured parents that there will be no sanctions for the absence of students who cannot come to class.
“Our teachers are instructed to mark students as excused from class if due to unsafe weather conditions. To ensure learning continuity, schools have been instructed to pre-identify learning tasks that students may complete at home,” Sedilla said.
“Our decisions will always be data-driven and evidence-based, hence we will make necessary announcements and suspensions depending on the data provided for by our weather systems and infrastructure. We will always prioritize the safety of the students while balancing the importance of their education,” Mayor Belmonte added.