Are the homeless children in the GovGuam shelter being educated?

The Global Dorm government of Guam homeless facility in Maite. (PNC file photo)

Many students have had to learn to adjust to the new norm, especially with home distance learning. But what about the homeless staying at the shelters?

The number of minors at GovGuam’s emergency shelter, Global Dorm in Maite, has increased in recent months. 15 out of the total 53 are GDOE students. While distance learning options are available to them, are these students able to adapt and stay on track with their school work or are they going to fall behind?

According to Diana Calvo, Catholic Social Services Executive Director, any information regarding students or parents such as job fairs and school requirements has been passed on to their shelter recipients and all 15 students are registered.

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“I know that they are picking up hard copy packets from the respective schools and that’s what they’re working on. We don’t have computer work stations for the kids to be doing their online learning course but they are working on it, the ones that are registered, they are working on it through hardcopy packets,” Calvo said.

She added: “Some of them have (internet) access through their phones, I think, or through their parents’ phones. I’m just saying we don’t have, the government hasn’t provided computers or work stations for the children to have that available online. But some of the parents do use their phones to submit the work. From the schools, they also have desk work and there are things they could submit online and there’s a process for that.”

With some of the homeless minors being on the hard copy module, another obstacle these students might face would be the eventual phasing out of the hard copy option. Calvo says there is already internet access at the shelter in case they have to switch to online learning.

She added that the homeless minors should be able to qualify for the GDOE laptops.

“I’m not sure if some of the parents applied for the applications on their own. I’m not sure if our social worker has applied for the families on behalf of the minors. But I do know that most of the parents assume the responsibility of picking up the school packets to make it into whatever work needs to be submitted,” Calvo said.

GDOE Spokesperson Isa Baza said: “We (GDOE) have been in communication with the homeless shelter and will be checking in regularly to see how these students can best be supported.”

Superintendent Jon Fernandez added ” the shelter managers know we stand ready to assist as needed”