By Aaron Recuenco
BATANGAS CITY– Classes for college students here in Batangas may resume this week amid the presence of the threat of hazardous eruption of the Taal Volcano.
But Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas was quick to clarify that only the colleges and universities located outside the 14-kilometer danger zone would open as a way of ensuring the safety of both the students and school personnel.
“There is still threat so only the schools outside the danger zone may be allowed to resume classes,” said Mandanas.
The Provincial Government of Batangas, however, is still waiting for the approval of the disaster risk reduction management council.
As for the senior high school down to the pre-school, Mandanas said the resumption of classes may be on Monday.
“But this will still depend on the assessment on the availability especially of public schools,” said Mandanas, adding that only schools outside of the danger zone are expected to be allowed to open.
Earlier, the Provincial Government of Batangas announced the suspension of classes while Alert Level 4 is still hoisted over the Taal Volcano.
But this time, Mandanas said it would be a go even if Taal is still under Alert Level 4.
The announcement on resumption of classes is expected within this week, according to Joselito Castro, head of the Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
Mandanas said they are currently decongesting the public schools being occupied by evacuees.
Based on the data of the Department of Education, more than 140 schools are currently being used as evacuation centers.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones earlier lamented the practice of the use of schools as evacuation centers as it is the education of the children which is being sacrificed.
Mandanas said at least 15,000 evacuees are expected to be moved to other evacuation centers this week.
They will be transferred to other facilities like the Provincial Jail in San Jose town which is currently nearing completion.
For the schools which will not totally be cleared of evacuees, temporary learning spaces would be set up.
More than 70,000 elementary and high school students are currently displaced, according to DepEd.
For the student-evacuees, some of them would be allowed to temporarily join the schools in non-affected areas.
Most of them, however, would likely be joining the classes on temporary learning spaces that would be set up in major evacuation centers.
Teachers of the displaced students are also required to either serve as an augmentation to the schools where displaced students would be accommodated, or resume classes at the temporary learning spaces.