Here’s something we never thought we would have us feeling sentimental: the return of the #WalangPasok hashtag.
In the pre-COVID days, this keyword would dominate social as soon as one of the expected 20 annual typhoons pays the Philippines a visit. Mayors would be roasted for announcing late suspensions, while students boast about being ‘waterproof’ or investing in a jet ski to traverse the flooded roads of Metro Manila.
But with the advent of distance learning due to the pandemic, a new question arises: Would #WalangPasok still be a thing, now that typhoon season is officially upon us?
The Internet pleads its case, citing the signal and power interruptions due to the bad weather.
For their part, the Department of Education (DepEd) agrees with suspending classes should the need arise – with reservations.
‘Personally, ang tingin ko dapat walang pasok sa araw ng bagyo pero hindi siya kasing haba nang dati’, said DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado Antonio per Rappler.
‘Pero ‘yung atin na class suspension on the account of heavy rain, hindi na siya mangyayari’.
Antonio adds that suspensions of online classes should happen in areas experiencing blackouts. For those using printed modules, they should be excused if their homes have been affected by the storm.
However, Antonio notes that it is ultimately the local government units who will decide on the suspension of classes.
A long-standing issue
Calls for the stoppage of classes or an ‘Academic Freeze’ have begun since the educational sector announced the resumption of classes in spite of the pandemic. Critics pointed out the lack of resources needed to adapt to distance learning, as well as the financial limitations of families affected by the lockdowns.
DepEd, however, countered that the petition is short-sighted, as it does not take into account ‘the effects of prolonged interruption in the learning process of children’.