Gatchalian: Time to revert to old school calendar

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — Senate Committee on Basic Education chairman Win Gatchalian on Tuesday said schools should go back to a June-to-March academic calendar, which allows students a break during the scorching summer months.

The suggestion came in light of the hospitalization of several students of the Gulod National High School-Mamatid Extension in Cabuyao, Laguna last week. The students showed signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion after participating in a surprise fire drill in the afternoon heat.

Asked about the incident, Gatchalian in a Senate media interview appealed to school officials to refrain from activities that could harm students this summer season.

"Mag-ingat lang dahil napakainit 'no at 'wag tayong gagawa ng mga bagay na malalagay sa delikado ang mga bata [They should take caution because it's too hot and we should not do things that could put the kids in danger]," Gatchalian said.

Asked if the episode should warrant a return to the old school calendar, Gatchalian agreed. Lockdowns imposed during the pandemic forced the closure of schools, and eventual adjustments to the academic calendar which opened in August last year and will end in July. Gatchalian said things should get back to normal now that the country is recovering from the pandemic.

"Summer kasi that's the time students can go out, spend time with their families, as opposed to tag-ulan. Mas maganda na ibalik natin sa dating April-May ang summer vacation. It will take a little bit of time kasi slow transition iyan pero dapat ibalik na," Gatchalian said.

[Translation: Summer is the time students can go out, spend time with their families, as opposed to the rainy season. It would be better to have the summer vacation back in April and May. It will take a little bit of time because of the slow transition but it should be done now.]