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In the Heat of the Moment



The heat finally hit me. It’s just impossible to run away from it. I had to go home that Sunday noon. There were no pedicabs, so I had to walk a good distance under the midday sun. Besides, even if a three-wheeled ride happened to move along, it would be still as hot. Well, at least, it would decrease the time of my exposure to the hellish heat. It was a relief when I got home. Later that afternoon, I started sneezing and feeling weak. I still managed to get to work the day after that. But on Tuesday, I felt I had to let my body rest. My temperature is normal, but my head feels so light, my nose so clogged, and I feel so sleepy. I could spend all day lying on bed.


I suppose that’s still a bit better than what more than a hundred students experienced in Occidental Mindoro. The heat was further aggravated by the very limited supply of electricity in the province. News has it that electricity would be in for less than a quarter of a day and it would be a blackout for the rest of the day. That is torture in the middle of summer heat. It’s sad that the youngsters had to endure that while going to school.


This is one of the incidents that got people talking, asking and clamoring for the school year to be scheduled back from June to March, making April and May the two-month break from class. (I used to think that it wouldn’t make any difference. It’s hot for most of the year anyway, except for the period of December to February. Oh no, now, I understand why April and May are called summer months. It really is hot.) Of course, this is based on the supposition that if school goes back to starting on June, then the children (and teachers) would be saved from the inconvenience of braving the summer heat inside the four concrete walls of the classroom with electric fans giving little comfort. So, let’s get it back to how it used to be. It should be that easy. Shouldn’t it? No, it isn’t.


The current school year started last August and will end on July. So how do we get it back to June? There could be two scenarios.


Scenario 1: No Vacation


A new school year could start immediately after this current one ends. With the school year starting in July, it could end on April next year. Then, the next school year, 2024-2025 can start in June. Thereafter, school years could start on June every year.


Scenario 2: No Fourth Quarter


Fourth quarter could be cut from this current school year. The current school year could be declared ended on the last day of April. May would be the break from classes. The next school year could start in June. All school years could start in June ever after.


The Problems:


Starting a new school year immediately after the end of one would be very stressful for students and teachers. As it is, they’re already stressed with heat all day. Having no vacation would stress them all the more. There wouldn’t be sufficient time to close the school year with all the records, and prepare again for another school year. It would not be physically, emotionally and psychologically (not to mention, financially) healthy to start a new school year immediately after the end of one.


Cutting the school year would deprive students of the learning experience of one quarter. They would miss out on the knowledge, attitudes and skill that would be developed in one quarter that would be cut from the school year. Students may be caught unprepared in some lessons of the next year because some prerequisite lessons were not learned.


But then again, if students, parents/guardians and teachers would be willing to go through the stress of “no vacation” or miss out on the lessons of the last quarter, then the next school years could start on June. April and May would be reserved for summer excursions (or remedial classes for those who have failing grades). Realistically, school has to have a vacation; and one quarter of learning experience can’t just be cut off from the school year. So, how is it going to be?


Maybe, students would be sent home if Covid-19 cases continue to increase. Maybe, that would take them away from the classroom heat.


Isaiah 4:6: There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.”

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