THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said at least five million students in over 4, 000 schools in four regions are affected by the Taal Volcano eruption over the weekend.
According to DepEd’s latest situation report, 5, 245, 928 students in 4, 498 schools were affected by the eruption.
Classes have been declared suspended at all levels in some parts of National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and Mimaropa (Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan).
The number of affected students reached 6, 639, 044 as of Monday night.
The DepEd said 67 schools in six divisions under Calabarzon are being used as evacuation centers, with 191 classrooms in these schools housing 2, 081 families or 16,785 individuals.
It earlier urged its personnel and other stakeholders to help track and monitor schools that are affected by the ashfall from the eruption.
“We are receiving information of many areas affected by ash fall as a result of Taal Volcano’s eruption, and we are aware of the threat it poses to our school buildings,” DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain del Pascua said.
“Please help us identify them by posting photos of schools affected by the ash fall and include the hashtag #SchoolPatrolPH,” he added.
In a memorandum, Pascua advised schools within the permanent danger zone and high-risk barangay (villages) to observe precautionary measures.
He also advised principals, teachers and other school personnel to use N95 respiratory masks or a damp cloth or towel or two surgical masks with two layers of tissue in between; wear a hat, long-sleeved shirts and long pants; and wear eyeglasses or goggles to protect their eyes from ash fall.
Pascua told them to carefully clean school buildings and surroundings.
“If safe to do so, remove accumulated [ashes] in the roofs and gutters regularly to prevent damage. After removing the ashes, clean the roofs and gutters with water to prevent corrosion.”
Meanwhile, the DepEd said it has already deployed the staff of its Disaster Risk Reduction Management Service (DRRMS) to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Operations Center.
The DepEd DRRMS will also “continue to monitor” updates from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) and coordinate with regions and divisions on class suspensions and other effects of the eruption, and “immediately deploy response interventions” such as hygiene kits and clean-up funds to affected areas.
It will also begin the immediate deployment of response interventions (hygiene kits and clean-up funds) to the affected areas.
Also, as part DepEd’s protocol, respective local government units and school heads are given the discretion to schedule their own resumption of classes.
The state seismology bureau raised alert level 4 over Taal Volcano on Sunday night after the volcano island spewed a giant column of steam and ash.
Alert level 4 remained as of Tuesday. JAN ARCILLA