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Cebu News

Due to COVID-19: Classes suspended

Lorraine L. Ecarma, Mary Ruth R. Malinao - The Freeman
Due to COVID-19: Classes suspended
The suspension of classes was contained in the Executive Order No. 51 that the mayor signed yesterday, adopting the city government guidelines on precautionary and safety measures against COVID-19.

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has suspended classes in all levels, both in public and private schools, for two weeks from March 16 to 28 as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Learning institutions are ordered to adopt distance learning by giving the students assignments and projects to fulfill the educational requirements. The mayor said the suspension of classes may be extended as the “necessity arises”.

The suspension of classes was contained in the Executive Order No. 51 that the mayor signed yesterday, adopting the city government guidelines on precautionary and safety measures against COVID-19.

Cebu province

A similar declaration was also made by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for the province but only for kindergarten, elementary, and high school. The suspension covers both public and private schools effective Monday, March 16.

According to Garcia, there will be no need to set the resumption of classes for the present academic calendar 2019-2020 since all the tests and activities left for students could be taken home as it is already the scheduled exam-week.

"They have already thought-up of mga contingency measures should a suspension of classes occur and which I have just declared. So, they can continue with their exams, so i-take home na," she said.

Garcia explained that the tertiary level is not covered by her declaration because she has yet to discuss with the Commission on Higher Education in Central Visayas (CHED-7) on the individual contingency plans of the state universities and colleges (SUCs) and private colleges and universities.

She said some schools follow different academic schedules because they have already implemented the academic calendar shift which opens the school year in August and culminates in June.

Mandaue City

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes also declared an indefinite suspension of classes and other school activities in all levels of public and private schools starting yesterday until further notice.

The declaration was also part of the city’s preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19. The mayor likewise urged the residents of the city to practice daily preventive measures against the virus such as frequent hand washing, use of alcohol-based sanitizers, etc.

Lapu-Lapu City

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan also declared suspension of classes in all levels of public and private schools starting today until March 28. Chan urged the parents to monitor their children and prevent them from going out to public places.

No Lockdown

Meanwhile, Labella said he is not implementing a lockdown but he is discouraging all Cebu City residents from travelling outside of the city. He also asked non-city residents planning to visit the city to postpone their plans until the public health emergency is lifted.

"Unless there's a very compelling and important reason (for the visit)," said Labella.

The mayor has directed the Philippine Coast Guard and Cebu Ports Authority to come up with guidelines to prevent inter-island passengers with COVID-19 symptoms from entering the city's ports.

Labella asked the public to remain calm but vigilant amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the public should maintain proper hygiene by practicing social distancing measures, frequent handwashing, and disinfecting personal spaces.

The mayor has encouraged all private establishments to have a temperature scanning device at the entry points to their premises and should ensure that hand soaps are available in the restrooms. They are also encouraged to postpone or cancel events and gatherings until the public health emergency is lifted or withdrawn.

Labella also issued Memorandum No. 2020-217 providing guidelines on the precautionary and safety measures for all departments of the City Hall. Among them is the cancellation of the holding of flag ceremonies.

All city government employees are also mandated to clean and disinfect their offices, individual personal spaces, and areas that are frequently used by the public.

"The Building Maintenance Services (BMS) should ensure that hand soaps are available in the restrooms and that hand sanitizers and/or alcohol are accessible in public spaces, and is directed to clean and disinfect all public/common spaces in the City Government owned and operated premises," read a portion of the memorandum.

State of Calamity

The Cebu City Council has also declared the city under a state of calamity during a special session held yesterday. Vice Mayor Michael Rama said the declaration was made to allow the city to utilize its calamity funds to fight the disease.

Rama also suspended the regular session of the City Council on March 18 and 25. He said regular session will resume on April 1, which will be done online.  FPL (FREEMAN)

CLASS SUSPENSION COVID-19
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