Celebrity mom Daphne Osena-Paez got on her Twitter account early yesterday morning to express her dismay at the Department of Education's delayed announcement of the suspension of classes. "Just got a call from my kid's school. DepEd cancelled classes!! they shoul(d) have done so at 6am!!!" Daphne went on to express her disappointment at the DepEd's inefficiency at relaying this information to parents.
Daphne's concerns have been echoed by parents for quite a while. Typhoon season sees anxious parents and students glued to their TV screens and listening to news reports on AM radio, waiting to catch an announcement regarding the cancellation of classes from government agencies like the DepEd or the Commission on Higher Education.
"Why couldn't you decide on canceling classes before gets sent off to school? It was raining all night," tweeted Daphne, referring once again to the DepEd. At noon yesterday, the DepEd announced that it had ordered the suspension of classes in the preschool, elementary, and high school levels, causing much scrambling among parents who had to adjust their schedules so that they could pick up their children from school.
We are used to having announcements like these throwing wrenches into our orderly routines, but being used to inconveniences doesn't make them less annoying or time consuming. FN gives you tips to make sudden class cancellations a lot more bearable and worry-free for both you and your child.
1. MAKE A PHONE TREE
This is the PTA equivalent of networking. Become involved in your child's school's parent-teacher's association and suggest - or volunteer, if you have the time - to make a directory of each child's contact information (the student's name, parent's names, and important phone numbers). This will come in handy when you need to contact other parents about emergencies and will in turn teach your child to help his/her classmates in troubled times.
A offshoot to having a phone tree would be the ever dependable carpooling rule. In any school, it's inevitable to have a few classmates live near each other. In instances where classes are suddenly suspended, carpooling is the safest way to get kids home with very little effort and fuss. However, if you decide to become the carpool parent, always make sure to let other parents know that you'll be taking their children home lest another major crisis comes from miscommunication.
3. HAVE YOUR CHILD STAY OVER AT A FRIEND'S HOUSE
If classes are suddenly suspended and your home is quite far from where your children go to school, arrange to have them stay over at a friend's house until you can come and get them yourself. This makes sure that your children are able to stay somewhere safe and with people you trust--of course, you should first make sure that this arrangement is all right with your kids' friend's parents.
4. PROXIMITY ISSUES
This falls under a common sense rule: if you are able to pick your children up from school, but unable to bring them home immediately, arrange to have them stay with you at your office and turn it into bonding time. Have your kids become your little helpers for the day, or be there to help them with homework.
5. MAKE GOOD JUDGEMENT CALLS
Ultimately, you will know best when it comes to deciding on the safety of your children. Signal number 1 may not be enough for the DepEd to suspend classes, but if you happen to live in an area where flooding is common, you may opt to have your kids stay home for the day.
Your children's safety is ever more in focus during situations where you are not in control. By considering FN's tips, you are not only ensuring your child's safety and well-being during typhoons, but you are also giving yourself less reasons to worry even when you cannot immediately be present.
(Photo courtesy of Daphne Osena-Paez's Twitter account)