Thirty-four more students of Gulod National High School-Mamatid Extension fell ill while taking classes the next day after a surprise fire drill downed more than a hundred learners, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (CDRRMO) said Sunday.
CDRRMO head Bobby Abinal Jr. said the local government unit tasked the principal to suspend classes on Friday, following Thursday’s incident wherein over 100 students were taken to the hospital for showing heat exhaustion symptoms. The Department of Education however said 83 learners were brought to the hospital.
“Wala pong dapat pumasok sapagkat 'yun ang usapin namin nu'ng principal na wala munang papasukin. Batay sa instruction ng mayor, iko-cordon ang area habang ating iniimbestigahan at kumukuha ng mga ilang bagay,” he said.
(No one should go to class because we talked to the principal. Based on the mayor's instruction, the area will be cordoned while we investigate and get some things.)
On Friday, Abinal said his men went back to the school at around 7 a.m. to get copies of the CCTV footage and found that classes had resumed.
“May hinimatay na isa, mamaya tatlo na naman. Sunod-sunod na ‘yun. Bale lahat-lahat ay nasa 34…nu'ng araw lang na ‘yun,” he added.
(One student fainted, then three more fainted later. That was the start. All in all, 34 fainted that day only.)
Upon checking the building, he said his men found out that the circuit breaker was off and the windows in classrooms were closed.
“Hindi ko maunawaan. Maski ang ating punong lungsod na si Mayor Dennis Hain nagtataka rin. 'Bakit,' sabi niya. 'Sinabihan na natin 'yan na 'wag na munang magpapasok, nagpapasok pa,'” Abinal said.
(I don’t understand why the school did that. Even our mayor was also wondering. He asked why they still resumed classes when they were told to suspend them for the meantime.)
The CDRRMO chief said that upon witnessing another round of students getting ill, Hain ordered the school to immediately suspend the classes and send the students home.
The mayor also tapped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) to conduct air tests in the area.
The Gulod National High School - Mamatid Extension on Thursday held the fire drill, in compliance with Department of Education Order No. 53 s. 2022 or the Mandatory Unannounced Earthquake and Fire Drills in Schools.
More than 2,000 learners from Grades 8, 9, 11, and 12 participated in the activity scheduled at 3:30 p.m.
The heat index in the city was around 39 to 42 degrees Celsius from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., according to a disaster official. Some of the students passed out due to hunger and dehydration.
The DepEd said Friday that an inquiry is now being conducted into the matter. —KG, GMA Integrated News