4,000 schools suspend onsite classes due to heat – DepEd

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
4,000 schools suspend onsite  classes due to heat � DepEd
Students of the Marikina Elementary School in Marikina City attend a two-hour class orientation before the formal school opening on August. 23, 2023.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Unbearable classroom conditions caused by extreme heat amid the intense dry season have forced the Department of Education (DepEd) to suspend onsite classes in nearly 4,000 schools across the country, affecting over 1.3 million learners.

The DepEd said the region with the most number of schools currently implementing the alternative delivery mode (ADM) as a result of extreme heat is Western Visayas with about 990 schools in the cities of Bacolod, Roxas, Kabangkalan, Silay, Himamaylan, Sipalay, San Carlos and Passi, as well as in the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras.

About 331,911 students are currently staying at home in the region for ADM classes.

It is followed by Soccsksargen with about 801 schools in General Santos City, Koronadal City, Cotabato and South Cotabato suspending onsite classes yesterday.

Schools with the most number of affected learners are in the National Capital Region with 395,210 of them undergoing ADM after 183 schools in the cities of Caloocan, Malabon, Marikina, Navotas, Pasay and San Juan suspended classes yesterday.

In the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Zamboanga Peninsula, a combined total of 976 schools have suspended onsite classes, affecting 626,828 learners.

Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Bicol Regions have a combined total of 1,004 schools currently suspending onsite classes. The number of affected students in the region has yet to be determined.

Only the regions of Northern Mindanao, Davao, Caraga and Cordillera have not suspended onsite classes.

Expedite transition

Onsite class disruptions and the worsening conditions in classrooms amid the intense dry season have prompted teachers’ groups to call on the DepEd to expedite the transition to the old school calendar, which is expected to take full hold three school years from now.

Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) chairman Benjo Basas said the DepEd should end School Year (SY) 2024-2025 by mid-April 2025 instead of initial plans of ending it on the fourth week or in May.

“I hope the DepEd will also consider shortening the next school year (SY 2024-2025) and finish it by mid-April so that the transition will be faster. April and May classes are what we need to avoid. According to the DepEd’s plan, it may take two or three years before we have no classes in April or May,” Basas said in a statement.

Amid class disruptions brought by extreme heat and the expected suspensions in the monsoon season, the TDC said the DepEd should also suspend the implementation of Catch-Up Fridays to prioritize learners’ academic needs, especially with potential reductions in class hours and the previously approved reduction of school days.

Stressing that no student or teacher should risk their health during the dry season, the TDC also urged the DepEd to consider shortening class hours or implementing a “shifting” to avoid hours when the heat is intense.

Various groups earlier called for the return to the old school calendar, citing the heat experienced by students during March and April. Even lawmakers sought to intervene by filing proposals to shift to the old calendar, stressing that the current school calendar running from August to June is inappropriate in the country.

The DepEd previously issued DepEd Order No. 3, series of 2024 last Feb. 19, adjusting the end of the current school year from June 15 to May 31, 2024. The same order also set the opening and closing dates for SY 2024-2025 as July 29, 2024 and May 16, 2025, respectively.


The Quezon City government yesterday released new guidelines on the automatic suspension of onsite classes due to extreme heat.

In an advisory issued by the QC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, public elementary and high schools in the city will automatically implement ADMs such as online and modular learning if the heat index reaches 40 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, based on existing policies, the decision to suspend onsite classes is left to the discretion of private school administrators, although the city government encourages them to follow suspensions implemented by local and national governments.

The heat index advisory will come from the city’s iRiseUP System, which consolidates various data and technologies to provide real-time weather updates to early warning systems, among others.

The Quezon City government on Tuesday suspended onsite classes due to extreme heat.

The city government of Pasay yesterday suspended face-to-face classes in all levels in both public and private schools due to the extremely high heat index.

In an executive order issued last Tuesday night, Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano encouraged schools to shift and implement any applicable learning modality to avoid disruption in the academic calendar. . – Janvic Mateo, Nillicent Bautista, Emmanuel Tupas, Michelle Zoleta, Caecent No-ot Magsumbol / The Freeman, Gilbert Bayoran, Roel Pareño, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Sheila Crisostomo

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