Tropical Storm Florita: Ma He forces Filipino classrooms in the north to close again

Severe tropical storm Ma On, known as Florita in the Philippines, made landfall in Maconacone, Isabela Province at 10:30 am local time, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The meteorological agency said heavy or intense torrential rains are expected to pass through much of northern Luzon – the country’s largest and most populous island – warning of widespread flooding and landslides.

Public schools were suspended for two days starting Tuesday in the metropolitan area, which includes Manila, as well as in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Zambales and Bataan. statement posted on Facebook by the press secretary of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Authorities evacuated more than 540 people to shelters in advance, and flood warnings were issued for the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, Bataan and Pampanga.

Photos from Pampanga on Monday showed some students spending their first day of school after more than two years of distance learning in flooded classrooms as the storm approached land.

“Learning Poverty”

More than 28 million students across the country returned to school on Monday, according to the Department of Education. Plans to lift restrictions put in place in March 2020 have stalled over concerns that the slow roll-out of the vaccine among students and teachers could lead to new outbreaks.

AT statement UNICEF said on Monday that the prolonged closure has delayed the educational development of millions of children in the country.

“Prolonged school closures, poor health risk reduction and household income shocks have had the biggest impact on learning poverty, leaving many children in the Philippines unable to read and understand simple text by age 10,” the statement said.

“Vulnerable children, such as children with disabilities, children living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, and children living in areas of natural disasters and conflict, fared much worse.”

The transition to online classrooms, self-learning modules and educational television and radio programs has proven to be an enormous challenge in a country of more than 110 million people, where less than a fifth of households have Internet access and many do not have mobile devices. according to Reuters.

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