Guam – GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says he’s confident that all public schools will be ready to open by Monday but there is still a lot of work to be done over the weekend. Hundreds of volunteers will work on at least six schools on Saturday to finish up some last minute projects before the first day of school.
“All the schools are gonna be ready to open but they’re working hard right now to do just this last finishing touches this weekend will be a big deal for some of the schools where all the volunteers will come up to finish some of the jobs like the grass cutting and the painting of the schools,” said Fernandez.
The DOE Superintendent says volunteers from Public Health, GPA, and other GovGuam agencies will all come out on Saturday to help with things like painting, grass cutting and other last minute fixes in at least six schools. George Washington High School, Benevente Middle School, Machananao Elementary, Inarajan Elementary School, Inarajan Middle School, and J.P. Torres Alternative School are all still in need of some work over the weekend. G.W. alone will have about 90 volunteers.
There are some schools with air con problems in some of the classrooms. DOE has been trying to procure over 2 thousand air conditioning units that were mired in a procurement protest but by the time the protest was resolved there wasn’t enough time to ship all of the units into Guam. However, the vendor was willing to lend some temporary units until the permanent ones come in.
“Right now we’re able to address Simon Sanchez which is a school that has about 20 classrooms down so we’re able to put in right now with the vendor temporary air conditioning solutions so they’re good to go on the first day of school,” said Fernandez adding, “We’re working on Benevente Middle School. We have 14 classrooms down we’re trying to get those up by the first day of school.”
DOE is also still working on filling some teacher vacancies. Fernandez says there are about 29 vacancies in the elementary schools. They might be able to fill about 11 soon but the rest will require some juggling. “That means moving a classroom maybe 20-25 or 25-28 kids in a class just to make sure that they have a teacher at the secondary level when we’ve had vacancies other teachers have stepped forward to teach during their prep periods,” explained Fernandez.
The DOE Superintendent has assigned central office leaders and staff to be present at different schools throughout DOE in order to be on hand during the first day of school so that they can be on the front lines to address any issues that may arise.