The changing weather conditions have a way of bringing on the unexpected. This is especially felt if you have schoolchildren. Often, because of our garbage disposal problem, poor drainage system and sheer lack of discipline, flashfloods would occur even when there aren’t any typhoons or storm signals, thus disrupting the schedule of classes.
This should not be a cause for concern if the announcement on the suspension of classes is made early on (i.e., before the kids leave home), but suspending classes mid-day is a different story altogether. Of course, most parents get anxious when classes are suspended when the children are already in school, whether it may be due to heavy rains, flooding, transport strike, a road emergency or other disturbances and they need to be fetched. What should you do then? What does your child need to do? It would be beneficial if a workable emergency plan is in place during such emergencies, and all family members know what to do. Here are tips to prepare one:
1. Check the school guidelines Most schools follow the Guidelines for Cancellation of Classes issued by the Department of Education (DepEd Order No. 28, series of 2005) that automatically suspends classes due to inclement weather, as follows: • Signal No. 1 - Cancellation of classes at the pre-school level • Signal No. 2 - Cancellation of classes at the preschool, elementary and high school levels • Signal No. 3 - Cancellation of classes at all levels
These are announced on television and radio networks, and it would be best for parents to tune in vigilantly on days with bad weather for the possibility of class suspensions.
In the absence of a storm signal, schools are given the discretion to suspend classes depending on the severity of the situation in their locale. For local suspensions, schools often resort to media, phone brigades or text blast to inform parents of the cancellation. Be sure to update the school of your contact numbers, both at home and at work, for ease of communication in such instances.
In spite of these guidelines, parents need to use their discretion on whether to have their child attend class or fetch them earlier than dismissal time, since they are in the best position to assess their child’s safety based on the presenting physical condition of their locality. Do take note of any tests, graded recitations, or reports are due, as you will need to present an excuse letter.
2. Designate a primary fetcher Assigning someone in the family to be in-charge of picking up your child from school on such instances would save everyone from anxiety, especially the waiting child. Select the person-in-charge on the basis of availability, proximity to the school and availability of transportation – either private or public. It may either be one parent or a trusted family member.