Schools should not be used as evacuation centers --- DepEd

As it prepares for the gradual return to the traditional June to March cycle, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday, May 23, reiterated that schools should no longer be used as evacuation centers for individuals affected by calamities because it disrupts the learning process.

Evacuees who were affected by "Karding" are still staying at Malanday Elementary School in Marikina City on Sept. 26, 2022, a day after the typhoon batters the heavily populated main island of Luzon. (NOEL B. PABALATE / MANILA BULLETIN / file photo)

DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Michael Poa, in an interview over DZBB, explained that based on the latest issuance of the agency, local government units (LGUs) are allowed to use public schools as evacuation centers for not more than 15 days.


Poa, however, noted that during the last meeting with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), DepEd requested that schools should no longer be used as evacuation centers.

“Talagang hindi maiiwasan minsan na tumatagal yung stay at nagha-hamper talaga at nagkakaroon ng learning disruption (Sometimes the stay lasts longer than expected, which hampers and causes learning disruptions),” Poa explained.

“Hindi makabalik kahit yung mga learners na hindi masyadong naapektuhan ng calamity, di pa din makabalik kasi yung schools ay ginagamit as ECs (Even the learners who are not greatly affected by the calamity cannot return because the schools are being used as evacuation centers),” he added.

Readiness of schools for La Niña

Poa said the DepEd continues to work with LGUs when it comes to adjustments involving the use of public schools.

With the return to the old school calendar, students will have to attend in-person classes during the rainy or wet season.

Asked about the readiness of schools for the rainy season, Poa said that efforts to repair classrooms are ongoing.

“Meron tayong budgetary restrictions pero ginagawa naman nating lahat (Although we have budgetary restrictions, we are doing everything we can),” Poa said. “We are working around the budget that we have,” he added.

Shift to alternative delivery modes

Poa clarified that the return to the old school calendar was not solely based on weather concerns.

“Binalik natin ito dahil ito ang gusto ng taong-bayan pero pagdating naman po sa init at tag-ulan, ang ating polisiya natin diyan ngayon ay ipinapatupad na natin yung Alternative Delivery Modes (We brought this back because it is what the people want, but when it comes to dry and rainy seasons, our policy now is to implement the Alternative Delivery Modes),” Poa explained.

As an existing policy, Poa said that if there are situations where face-to-face classes need to be suspended, schools can automatically shift to alternative delivery modalities such as online, distance, or modular learning.

“So kung meron napakainit or malakas ang ulan at nagkaroon ng baha, ang sinususpindi lang natin ay yung in-person classes pero tuloy-tuloy pa din ang pag-aaral ng sa ganoon di naman po tayo magkaroon ng maraming learning disruptions (So if it gets very hot or there is heavy rain and flooding, we only suspend in-person classes, but learning continues so that we do not have many learning disruptions),” Poa said.