So the question on everyone’s mind now is, “What happens next?”
Here are some quick facts:
1. We are still waiting for the official report by the Bureau of Fire Protection. Therein, they will detail the cause of the fire and lay out their recommendations for how to proceed.
2. This recommendation is key. With that we will know whether we are cleared to use the building, particularly the unaffected parts of the second floor, as well as the third floor.
3. As everyone should know by now, exams are pushing through on Monday to Wednesday, and new venues will be used. Check with your respective Batch Advisers/Councils for information.
4. What happens on Thursday and beyond is still to be determined. I will not divulge the various proposals floating around, but suffice to say that we will find it incredibly difficult to hold ordinary classes without the third floor classrooms at least. And if ever we get to use the third floor, the next big hurdle is the absence of the library and the registrar’s office. We need both if we want to operate “business as usual”.
Nonetheless, we would advise students to expect that there will be classes. Expect. At least if there turns out to be none, then that won’t be a disappointment.
5. The reason why a question mark hangs above the third floor is because the fire may have affected the structural integrity of the whole SHB. As fire experts would tell you, though certain structures such as concrete walls and pillars may survive a fire, the internal structures within (ie. metal or wooden beams, wires, cables, etc.) may have been melted or toasted by the intense heat. Hence we wait for clearance.
That’s it with the facts.
You all know me to be an opinionated guy. And while I have very strong feelings about everything that happened last week post-crisis, I will refrain from publishing my specific comments, counterpoints, and recommendations in the spirit of solidarity. We can always say that things could be handled better and that people could decide faster, but I feel that to say such right now is rather irresponsible given the severity of the circumstances and the absence of any precedents to guide us moving forward. Nonetheless, I completely agree that how the administration acts now will set the precedent, and that all of us has something to contribute to what happens next.
Criticism at this point, merited or otherwise, only takes away more than it gives. I rather be constructive, and considering how open our administrators are, my voice won’t go to waste. Public advocacy is not necessary at this point, though rest assured that whatever I have to say will center on two principles: first, that immediate relief is given to those who need it most so they could continue doing their work, and second, that time tables for restoration (at the least) or rehabilitation (at the most) of the SHB be set immediately so that we can be guided accordingly in relocating and rescheduling classes, if need be.
In closing, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the Computer Science unit for making accomodations for the Humanities Department at the Tech Prep room. It’s a fine move that helps all of us get back on our feet, regardless of whether or not we know where we’re heading. My heart goes out to all my colleagues who lost their everything when the fire consumed their cubicles. I may have been spared, but that doesn’t put me in a different boat. What happens next will be telling for all of us, as we strive to go back to work with even less than what we had before. But we do have each other, so I hope we make that count for something.