MANILA - A group of teachers is asking the Department of Education (DepEd) to consider shortening class hours and suspend the use of school uniforms for both students and teachers amid the sweltering heat being experienced in the country.
In a statement released Sunday, Teachers' Dignity Coalition National Chairperson Benjo Basas said although DepEd has allowed school administrators to suspend face-to-face classes due to the hot weather, the only option the agency gave was to shift to modular distance learning.
Because of this, some school heads are hesitant to suspend face-to-face classes and implement modular learning, which is not that effective, Basas added.
"Yang pure modular ay napatunayan nang hindi effective, kaya nga may learning gaps tayo ngayon. Baka puwedeng shortened period na lang, halimbawa ay once or twice a week na physical classes between 6 to 9 or 10 a.m. sa morning session at 3-6pm sa afternoon session kung double shift ang schedule ng school," he said.
(Pure modular has been proven to be ineffective, that's why we have learning gaps. Maybe we can implement shortened period, for example, twice a week of physical classes between 6 to 9 or 10 a.m. for the morning session, and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the afternoon session if schools can accommodate double shift.)
Basas also urged DepEd to suspend the use of school uniforms for both students and teachers since these tend to be uncomfortable.
"Mainit talaga ang uniform namin eh, so hindi komportable ang mga guro at nakadaragdag pa ito sa stress at physical exhaustion. Mainit na ang panahon, masikip pa ang classroom, mainit pa rin ang suot ni teacher. Maari naman kaming magsuot ng disente pero komportableng damit sa tag-init," he added.
(Our uniforms are really uncomfortable, and can add to the stress and physical exhaustion. The weather is hot, classrooms are cramped, and teachers have to wear uncomfortable clothes. We can wear decent yet comfortable clothes during the dry season.)
According to Basas, it is better for the school division superintendent, who is usually in charge of schools within a city or province, to make a decision for a whole area since the temperature in certain cities and provinces are the same.
"Kadalasan ay iisa lang naman ang temperature sa buong dibisyon, kaya mas mabuting magdeklara ang superintendent ng dibisyon alinsunod sa konsultasyon sa school heads at mga guro," he added.
(Usually the temperature in the whole division is the same so it is better for the division superintendent to decide after consultation with school heads and teachers.)
Basas said these solutions can be implemented in the meantime, but long term solutions should include decongesting classrooms and ensuring proper ventilation inside classrooms.
In a memorandum released Thursday, the DepEd reiterated that school administrators can suspend face-to-face classes due to natural disasters, calamities and human-induced hazards, but modular distance learning should be implemented to replace the canceled or suspended classes.
DepEd also said school heads can suspend in-person classes and implement modular distance learning due to extremely high temperatures which can put students’ health at risk.