University of Eastern Philippines Shifts to Blended Learning Amid Extreme Heat

The University of Eastern Philippines shifts to blended learning due to dangerously high heat index, highlighting the need for adaptive measures as extreme weather impacts education, agriculture, and public health in the Philippines.

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Salman Khan
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University of Eastern Philippines Shifts to Blended Learning Amid Extreme Heat

University of Eastern Philippines Shifts to Blended Learning Amid Extreme Heat

The University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman, Northern Samar, has announced a transition to combined online and in-person learning from April 22 to April 28, 2024, in response to the dangerously high heat index reaching 44 degrees Celsius on Friday, as reported by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

PAGASA has warned of hazardous heat index levels in 19 areas across the country on Saturday, with Catarman, Northern Samar, being one of the areas affected, along with Dagupan City, Aborlan in Palawan, and other locations. The weather bureau has classified a heat index of 42 to 51 degrees as the danger level, where residents are likely to experience heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and possible heat stroke.

In response to the extreme heat, the University of Eastern Philippines has prioritized the health and safety of its students and staff by implementing blended learning for the upcoming week. The decision comes as PAGASA forecasts that three areas - Dagupan City, Pangasinan; Aborlan, Palawan; and Roxas City, Capiz - will experience the most intense heat index of 44 degrees Celsius on Sunday, April 21. The state weather service also expects Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and Guiuan, Eastern Samar, to experience extreme heat at 43 degrees Celsius.

Why this matters: The extreme heat event in the Philippines has far-reaching consequences, affecting not only the education sector but also agriculture and public health. The shift to blended learning by the University of Eastern Philippines highlights the need for adaptive measures to protect students and staff from the dangerous heat levels, while the damage to the agriculture sector due to the El Niño weather phenomenon underscores the economic impact of extreme weather events.

Senator Bong Go has expressed support for adaptive measures to protect workers against the escalating heat index, including flexible working arrangements, 'heat breaks,' and the availability of PhilHealth benefits for heat stroke victims. The Department of Health and the Department of Education have also been proactive in studying and implementing measures to safeguard the public during this extreme heat event.

The public is advised to limit time spent outdoors, especially at noon, and to drink plenty of water. People going outdoors are also reminded to use umbrellas or wear hats and sleeved clothing. The Department of Agriculture has reported a 49.8% increase in damage to the agriculture sector due to the El Niño weather pattern, affecting 66,065 hectares of land and 77,713 farmers.

As the extreme heat event continues to impact various regions in the Philippines, the University of Eastern Philippines' decision to shift to blended learning serves as an example of the necessary precautions and adaptations required to ensure the well-being of students and staff. With PAGASA's warnings of dangerous heat index levels persisting in the coming days, it is crucial for both public and private institutions to remain vigilant and take appropriate measures to mitigate the effects of the extreme weather conditions.

Key Takeaways

  • UEP shifts to blended learning due to dangerously high heat index of 44°C.
  • PAGASA warns of hazardous heat index levels in 19 areas across the Philippines.
  • 3 areas to experience most intense heat index of 44°C on April 21.
  • Extreme heat impacts education, agriculture, and public health in the Philippines.
  • Govt. supports adaptive measures like flexible work, 'heat breaks,' and PhilHealth benefits.