The Guam Education Board last night voted to authorize all students to return to 5-day face-to-face instruction by Nov. 29.
The vote was six in favor and three against.
Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez had originally recommended that the return to a 5-day schedule be phased.
Fernandez wanted the high school students to return first in December because they’ve had a longer period to time to be vaccinated. The elementary and middle school kids can then follow in January.
But board member Maria Gutierrez read a resolution to have all students — the high school, middle school, and elementary students — return to a 5-day schedule at the same time on Nov. 29, the Monday after Thanksgiving. Those who are properly registered for online instruction would be exempted from this.
It was this resolution that the education board voted upon last night.
Before the vote, Guam Federation of Teachers president Tim Fedenko argued passionately in favor of delaying the return of the younger students.
He said he had no problem with the high school students returning early because they’ve had a longer period of time to get vaccinated already.
But he said the rollout for the pediatric vaccination occurred only a week ago.
“Let’s give the younger students a chance to get vaccinated. What’s a few days more delay?” Fedenko said.
But Guam Education Board member Robert Crisostomo also argued passionately that the board has to act now to return all students to the 5-day schedule because public school students are losing out when it comes to learning the more the 5-day schedule is delayed.
He said the two other school systems on island — DoDEA and the private school system — don’t seem the worse for wear although they have returned to the 5-day schedule earlier.
Board member Peter Ada also offered a compromise to have the return to a 5-day schedule occur on Dec. 1, instead of Nov. 29, which he felt was too soon.
For his part, Superintendent Fernandez said they were just waiting for the board decision and are ready to execute whatever policy the board adopts, whether it’s a phased return to the 5-day schedule or all students at once.