DepEd to set up makeshift classrooms in quake-hit Abra

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 5, 2022) — The Department of Education will put up temporary classrooms and learning spaces in areas in Abra, which were widely affected by the magnitude 7 earthquake in late July.

The move is being done ahead of the start of the new academic year.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday, Education Spokesperson Michael Poa said the agency wants to have quick interventions so as not to hinder the formal education of students in Abra. The academic year 2022-2023 is already set to begin this month.

Poa said at least 427 schools sustained damage in the province. This number keeps increasing by the day.

"Firstly, we are looking at putting up temporary learning spaces. These are makeshift spaces made out of light materials that can stand as temporary classrooms," Poa said. "Secondly, because of the time issue, we are looking at coordinating with LGUs. We are looking for spaces within barangay covered courts that could serve as temporary classrooms."

"We are also looking at going back to alternative delivery modes like modules or blended learning so we would no longer further hamper the learning of our students in the area," Poa added.

Poa reiterated that upon consultation with regional directors, the agency is still pushing through with the implemented academic calendar, even in quake-hit areas.

"We will still open classes on August 22. However, if there are aftershocks, because we still feel aftershocks now, the authority to suspend classes is still with the LGU," he added.

In Friday's situational report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 11 deaths and 410 injured due to the July 27 quake that rocked Northern Luzon.

Damage to infrastructure has already reached over ₱1.3 billion. This covers 728 infrastructures in Cordillera Administrative Region, 597 in Ilocos Region, 131 in Cagayan Valley, nine in Central Luzon, and 12 in Metro Manila.

RELATED: Infra damage from Luzon quake now over ₱1B - NDRRMC 

The DepEd has ordered the start of the academic year on August 2022. Public and private schools may conduct five days of in-person classes, blended learning, or full distance learning within the transition period. By November 2, they are expected to transition to five days of face-to-face classes.

Poa stressed that the agency will make use of the transition period to identify which schools will be allowed to enforce blended learning beyond November 2 due to issues on classroom size and infrastructure.

Over 16 million have so far enrolled for the incoming school year.