Safety is always first and foremost priority of the Department of Education (DepEd) when they think of the schools’ welfare. Thus, they have implemented preventive measures such as organizing a skeletal force and safeguarding records and equipment in schools within the permanent danger zone (PDZ) and extended danger zone (EDZ), and preparing evacuation centers ahead of actual evacuation in areas affected by the Mayon volcano disturbance. This is in close coordination with the local government unit (LGU) of Albay.
Of the 724 schools in the province, 76 have been identified as affected. These affected schools are those within the PDZ and EDZ. Of these, 28 have already resumed classes as of September 23. To date, 676 out of 724 schools have regular classes in the province despite Alert Level 3.
DepEd has implemented interventions to foster a sense of normalcy among learners. The Department has worked together with the local government of Albay and UNICEF for the deployment of 155 tents for the 38 schools used as evacuation centers in five towns and two cities in the province. These evacuation centers are closely monitored and co-managed by DepEd school personnel.
These 38 schools used as evacuation centers are also accommodating the student enrollment of displaced schools to ensure the continued delivery of education needs. For instance, San Jose Elementary School in Malilipot, Albay has taken in Calbayog ES pupils. On September 23, some 1,200 students are expected to report, to be accounted for, while 18 tents are being set up to provide for their needs. School personnel are likewise tasked to do daily tracking of all students by grade level.
Together with the Albay provincial government, DepEd continues to work toward class resumption in affected schools in Albay, Legaspi, Tabaco, and Ligao.