Motorists can expect heavy traffic congestion today as more than half-a-million students mostly enrolled in Metro Cebu’s public and private schools are expected to attend the opening day of classes.
The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) said it will field over 50 traffic personnel to areas near schools to direct traffic.
“Public schools, especially those along major roads, should designate drop-off points for students. As much as possible, they shouldn’t just drop off the kids at the side of the road. Why not use the school grounds? It’s less traffic and less risky for the students,” said Citom operations chief Joy Tumulak.
He said parents sending and dropping off their kids along the road is one of the major traffic concerns during classes. It also endangers the safety of students, Tumulak said.
Tumulak said he requested Local School Board (LSB) head Raddy Diola to coordinate with public schools in designating drop-off points in each school.
Citom is expecting heavy traffic in areas near Bulacao, Pardo, Mambaling, Punta Princesa and Tisa and all other schools located along the roads.
“Expect traffic. Leave home early to send your kids to school and to avoid traffic. If you happen to pass by areas near schools, drive slower since there might be a lot of kids in the area,” he said.
The Local School Board is still busy putting up emergency exits in public school buildings with two to three-story buildings within the city for this week’s school opening.
Of the 40 public elementary and high schools, 31 already have emergency exits while nine have yet to complete construction.
Diola said the delay was caused by some contractors who waited for a Notice to Proceed before they started civil works unlike others who immediately started to construct the exits.
The schools where emergency exits are still being built are Bulacao National High School, Inayawan Elementary School, Pardo Elementary School, Don Vicente Rama Memorial Elementary School and National High School, Basak Community National High School, Mambaling Elementary School, Mabolo Elementary School and Lahug Elementary School.
Diola said he already met with the contractors and they committed to complete the emergency exits by mid-June.
“Every day the project is delayed there’s an accident waiting to happen,” Diola said.
In last year’s opening of classes, Cebu City officials led by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella noted that some schools have narrow stairs and no adequate emergency exits.
Work on the emergency exits started in August last year by the city’s Department of Engineering and Public Works.
The LSB used P30 million of its Special Education Fund (SEF) from last year to fund the construction of the exits.
The regional Department of Education (DepEd) said the schools were reminded to orient their students especially first-timers on their policies, facilities and safety measures.
“There would be no cleaning of classrooms because all were done during the Brigada Eskwela,” Regional DepEd Director Julieta Jeruta said.
Parents who were unable to enroll their children in public schools during the early registration and Brigada Eskwela should finish the enrollment process within this week, Dr. Jeruta said.
“If they cannot enroll their children this week they should find a private school. We also need to discipline the parents as well,” Jeruta said.
Most schools damaged or destroyed by supertyphoon Yolanda in November 8, 2013 have already been restored except for Bantayan Elementary School.
“It was built in 1901 and when a school considered as cultural heritage hindi basta na repair yan kasi dapat maingat ang pag restore ng design nyan (it cannot just be repaired outright because we have to be careful about restoring the original design),” Jeruta said.
Still, she said classes in Bantayan Elementary School will continue amid the ongoing repairs.
Several schools in Cebu will hold six-hour double shifts of classes to complete the required 201 schooldays.
Cordova National High School will have double shifts of classes this school year due to their lack of classrooms said Dr. Arden Monisit, DepEd Cebu province superintendent.
“There is also an increase in enrollment that’s why they submitted a letter of request to hold double shifts,” he said.
Monisit said they need to hire 1,300 teachers for Cebu province as they anticipate an increase of two to five-percent in the number of enrollees every year.
In Cebu City Dr. Rhea Angtud, Cebu City division superintendent, said there are 12 elementary schools and 14 high schools that will hold day and night shift classes./With Correspondent Michelle Joy L. Padayhag