An inquiry is being conducted into the surprise fire drill done in a school in Cabuyao City, Laguna that led to over 100 students being hospitalized due to dehydration and hunger, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday.
“We want to get the details of what transpired so we can make improvements and avoid incidents similar to what transpired yesterday in Cabuyao,” said DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa.
Mayor Dennis Hain said a total of 112 students of Gulod National High School Mamatid Extension were rushed to different hospitals due to dizziness and fainting after attending the fire drill in their school.
“Some had comorbidities. I was scared because some were shaking, some had eyes rolling,” he said in a TeleRadyo interview.
According to the City School Division of Cabuyao City (SDO), two students remain confined at the Cabuyao City Hospital, and 79 students were already discharged and are now in stable condition.
“Our primary concern right now would be the condition of the learners affected,” added Poa.
Classes were also suspended on Friday to ensure all learners had enough time to rest and recover.
DepEd is also coordinating with the local government to provide financial assistance to those who fell ill during the fire drill.
Around 3,000 students of the school were already gathered around noon and were told to proceed to an open evacuation area at around 2:30 pm.
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.
The Cabuyao mayor ordered the temporary suspension of all school fire drills in the city, which was organized based on a DepEd memo.
Hain said that based on their investigation, the drill started at 12 noon, when the students were crammed into classrooms despite the hot weather.
The students reportedly stayed inside the classroom on orders of the teachers, with help from so-called “scouts”, for over three hours, while in cramped conditions. Some had not eaten, while others were parched, the mayor said.
The students were eventually let out but they were sent to an open field, where they stayed for 30 minutes under the scorching heat, allegedly without water, the mayor continued.
This reportedly resulted in dizziness and seizures among students, while others also fainted.
A total of 104 students were sent to Cabuyao General Hospital, Hain said. Others were also medically treated in Ospital ng Cabuyao.
The teachers did not coordinate the drill with Brgy. Mamatid or Cabuyao disaster management officials, according to the mayor.