Proposed rules in class suspension ready
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/JMO (The Freeman) - January 26, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The city government will meet with representatives of colleges and universities here to discuss the proposed guidelines in suspending classes during emergency situations such as during calamities.

The guidelines were drafted by lawyer Jonathan Capanas, dean of the University of San Jose-Recoletos College of Law, upon request of the city government following confusion between the city and the schools in suspending classes during typhoon Ruby last month.

On December 2014, Mayor Michael Rama suspended the classes in elementary, secondary, and tertiary levels owing to the continuing effects of typhoon Ruby but the University of the Philippines-Cebu and USJ-R College of Law continued to hold classes despite the mayor’s declaration.

It was then agreed that a unified set of guidelines is necessary to avoid confusion in the future.

City Attorney Jerone Castillo said the proposed guidelines are yet to be presented to the schools.

Under Capanas’ proposal, classes should be suspended based on the situation in the area where the school is located.

“The suspension of classes should be based on the situations in which schools find themselves. For instance, floods are usually localized and therefore suspension would be appropriate in some areas and not in others. In fact, some HEIs with multiple campuses suspend classes in affected campuses but not in others,” the proposed guidelines read, adding that college students should be treated differently from elementary and high school students since they are considered as young adults already.

The proposal also stipulates that the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) have more autonomy and freedom to make their own decisions.

“Suspension of classes and the loss of class days affect some institutions more seriously than others due to different schedules. HEIs, faculty and students on a trimester system would be affected more likely by a centralized and unilateral suspension of classes due to the need to hold make up classes for the loss of required class days,” it reads.

With this, Capanas proposed that classes at the collegiate level, including graduate schools, in the affected area are automatically cancelled or suspended when PAGASA raises signal No. 3.

“Classes at the collegiate level, including graduate schools may be cancelled or suspended at the discretion of the local chief executive of the local government unit and/or heads of HEIs if special circumstances in their area such as flooding, road damage, etcetera warrant it.  HEIs are also advised to monitor NDRRMC announcements where disasters or calamities are present,” the proposal reads.

Capanas said students who are unable to report to class  or participate in scheduled activities such as exams due to inclement weather shall be given consideration and be allowed to make up for missed class or activity even if classes were not suspended.

“The Local Chief Exe-cutive and/or HEI heads or their duly authorized representatives shall make the announcement for the cancellation or suspension of classes not later than 4:30 a.m.  of the day when the cancellation or suspension shall take effect using all available media outlets (radio, TV, SMS, websites and other forms of social media,” the proposal reads further.

As regards suspending classes at midday, Capanas said the announcement must be made not later than 11 a.m.

Still, Capanas said school heads should consider the conditions because there are times when it is safer to keep students in school than dismiss them from class and expose them to imminent danger.

In the absence of signal warning from PAG-ASA, schools should have a designated person to coordinate with the Local Chief Executive in cancelling or suspending classes, Capanas said.

“The school will be given 15 minutes from receipt of the notice (written or verbal) to respond or give feedback to the Local Chief Executive.  Failure to respond or give feedback within 15 minutes from receipt of the notice (written or verbal) shall be deemed as giving concurrence or support by the school head to the decision of the Local Chief Executive to suspend/cancel classes,” the proposal reads.  (FREEMAN)

CAPANAS CITY ATTORNEY JERONE CASTILLO CLASSES HIGHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS JONATHAN CAPANAS LOCAL CHIEF EXE LOCAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA ON DECEMBER R COLLEGE OF LAW
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