DepEd Legazpi issues anti-extreme heat directives following successive high heat indexes

On Wednesday, April 10, the Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division Office Legazpi City issued Division Memorandum No. 266, s. 2024, titled “Precautionary Measures During Extremely Hot Weather,” introduces measures to mitigate extreme heat-induced health risks for students and faculty within their jurisdiction.

It can be recalled that last March 22, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) officially declared the start of the summer season, followed by successive high heat indexes, prompting concerns for individuals exposed to such extreme weather conditions.

In consideration of said circumstances, the DepEd Schools Division Office Legazpi City reiterates the implementation of modular distance learning as a means to safeguard the well-being of learners and personnel during in-person classes.

Said directive reminds school heads of their responsibility and grants them authority to suspend in-person classes and switch to modular distance learning in cases of extreme weather conditions, including excessively high temperatures that could pose a threat to the health and safety of students.

Furthermore, the directive also outlined several specified precautionary measures in order to minimize the effects of extreme heat in classrooms and schools. 

These measures include assessing the risk of heat exposure for individuals with pre-existing conditions, ensuring effective ventilation and heat insulation, adjusting schedules to minimize exposure, providing appropriate clothing and protective equipment, and ensuring access to an adequate supply of drinking water.

Additionally, said memorandum emphasized the importance of information campaigns on heat stress symptoms, monitoring weather forecasts and heat index advisories, establishing emergency procedures, and coordinating with local government units for support and resources.

Similarly, Tabaco City Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman and Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo had previously taken proactive measures to ensure the safety of students and faculty in their respective municipalities amidst the prevailing high heat indexes.

Both announced that classes in all levels for both public and private schools in Tabaco City and Daraga shall shift to modular distance or online learning modality until further notice. | Kian Kirby F. Florano