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12 LGUs suspend classes due to high heat index

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Twelve local government units in Negros Occidental suspended classes from Monday until April 2, due to forecasted high heat index, according to Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Irene Belle Ploteña.

The LGUs that observed no classes for two days were the highly urbanized city of Bacolod, municipalities of E.B. Magalona, Hinobaan, Isabela, Binalbagan, Candoni, Cauayan, and the cities of Bago, Silay, Talisay, Kabankalan, and Himamaylan, all in Negros Occidental.

Ploteña said that the towns of Ilog and Moises Padilla left it “to the discretion of school heads to suspend classes.”

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the forecasted heat index in Negros Occidental is 41° Celsius on April 1 and 42° Celsius on April 2.

While the effects of the El Niño phenomenon will still be felt until August this year, Ploteña disclosed that La Niña is also expected to be in effect with the onset of the southwest monsoon (Habagat) in June.

She advised everyone to stay indoors and hydrated, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez encouraged pre-school, elementary, secondary, and senior high school levels to adopt alternative delivery modes for instructional methods to benefit their students.

Benitez, however, said that private schools with air-conditioned rooms and tertiary-level institutions may exercise discretion to continue with face-to-face classes.

Bago City, Silay City, EB Magalona, Talisay City, Binalbagan, and Himamaylan City have shifted to modular or online distance learning.

On the other hand, Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez said his decision not to suspend face-to-face classes for all levels in both public and private schools “comes after careful consideration of geographical layout, autonomy of school heads, and general advisory on our local conditions.”

“Our geographical terrain ranges from mountains to coastlines, and our schools experience weather conditions differently,” he pointed out.

Benitez added that he trusts school heads “to make informed decisions about the best mode of learning for their students whether it is in-person or through alternative delivery modes.

Should there be a shift of implementation to alternative delivery mode of any school, we encourage the students and parents to ensure that the learning objectives continue to be met,” he further said.*

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