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Scorching heat drives students home

SLT 1259

April 6 -12, 2024

SOUTHERN LEYTE – The Department of Education (DepEd) announced on April 3, 2024 that some schools in the Philippines have suspended face-to-face classes due to extreme heat. However, these schools implemented alternative mode of learning.
In the province, there were at least 12 schools in the municipalities of Malitbog, Macrohon, Pintuyan, and Tomas Oppus. The schools identified by DepEd in Southern Leyte were Abgao Elementary School, Malitbog; Macrohon Central Elementary School, Macrohon; Aguinaldo Elementary School, Pintuyan Central School, Buenavista Elementary School, Punod Primary School, Nueva Estrella Elementary School, Son-ok Elementary School, and Pintuyan National High School.
According to Dr. Genis Murallos, DepEd Superintendent of Maasin City, actions have been implemented to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and staff during the hot season. He mentioned that the school heads will decide whether to suspend classes or not, and then report it through a Google Form for monitoring. The Division Office will closely monitor the situation. He also confirmed that in Maasin City five schools have suspended classes due to the heat situation, namely, Maasin Central, Cansirong AS, Lib-og, Lanao, and Baugo schools.
Some other schools like the Maasin Christian Academy, The College of Maasin and Saint Joseph College in Maasin City have temporarily suspended face-to-face classes, from Nursery to High School.
The local government of Sogod has also announced the suspension of all nursery and high school classes on April 5, 2024.
In an interview with Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Visayas Weather Specialist, Joseph Gerald Merlas, said that the hot weather began in March, and continues to April and May.
In Maasin City, Southern Leyte, the highest forecasted air temperature was 42 degree Celsius on April 5, with the heat index indicating extreme caution to danger levels. This extreme heat is attributed to the ongoing El Niño phenomenon. It is expected that temperatures will continue to rise, leading to even hotter weather in the coming weeks, according to Merias.
At Living Hope Hospital, there have been reported cases of individuals being attended to due to heat-related symptoms, mostly senior citizens.
Xeanne Jo Kapili, a nurse MD GP/-ROD of Med City Hospital, said that there were no admissions due to extreme heat. However, she advises staying hydrated and managing blood pressure to avoid complications from the heat index. She said that vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and those with health issues, are more susceptible to the effects of extreme heat.
Health specialists said that continued exposure to searing heat may lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat-related illnesses include heavy sweating, exhaustion or fatigue, dizziness or lightheadedness, fainting or feeling dizzy when standing, and nausea and vomiting.
Prevention measures include limiting time spent outdoors during peak heat hours, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcoholic beverages, tea, coffee, and soda, wearing appropriate clothing such as hats and sleeved garments, and scheduling strenuous activities for cooler parts of the day.
In case of emergency, move the affected persons to a shaded area and lay them down with legs elevated. If conscious, encourage them to sip cool water, remove excess clothing, apply cool water to the skin, provide ventilation, and apply ice packs to specific areas like armpits, wrists, ankles, and groin. In severe cases, seek immediate medical attention. (Andrea Vista, Margie Cadano, Michaella Malong, Riza Papa)

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