GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Rising temperatures prompted the state-run Mindanao State University (MSU) in General Santos to suspend face-to-face classes, shifting back to the online mode of holding classes in all levels of learning starting on Monday, March 27.
The move, first resorted to during the crucial period of the COVID-19 pandemic, is intended to protect students and teachers from the threat posed by rising temperatures.
Norman Ralph Isla, MSU-General Santos campus secretary, confirmed that he received instructions from university chancellor Usman Aragasi to inform all students, professors, and employees of the decision via social media on Sunday evening, March 26.
Online classes for college, senior high school, and junior high school subjects will be conducted from March 27 to 31.
But the MSU emphasized that neither office work nor classes have been suspended, and all faculty members with administrative duties have been directed to report to their respective offices.
Isla said all college deans, and junior, and senior high school directors were told to monitor the online classes during the period and submit their reports to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
MSU 7th grade school teacher Melissa Anniversario said she helped by informing her students and their parents via SMS that the classes would be held online, and that all campus activities that require physical presence from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm have been called off.
The MSU decision in General Santos was prompted by the advisory of the state weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) that warned of scorching heat index levels as high as 59 degrees Celsius.
Pagasa has forecast the local heat index level – the measure of how one feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature – to reach 36°C to 59°C on Monday, and 35°C to 53°C on Tuesday, March 28, and 35°C to a maximum of 55°C on Wednesday, March 29.
The weather agency attributed the unusually high temperatures to an upcoming El Niño phenomenon, which the agency said could take place during the 3rd quarter.
MSU’s health department has cautioned students and their parents about the risks of prolonged exposure to heat and high humidity, reminding them to keep hydrated and take steps to protect themselves from heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
In an advisory, the department said such health impacts could be severe, particularly for the young, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions. – Rappler.com
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