Now that the COVID-19 vaccination eligibility has been expanded to 16 years old and above, which covers many students under the Guam Department of Education, GDOE is now discussing a plan of action for vaccinating students.
GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez went on air on Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo and says that although GDOE wasn’t sure they would get to this point earlier than the anticipated month of April, they have been discussing and brainstorming with Public Health on how to move forward with the vaccinations at the schools.
“What basically would be 6 school vaccination clinics because we have about 6 high schools where we could host the vaccines, I think the issue for the students is to really kind of try looking at the transportation issue with them getting the vaccines. So we’re discussing it now and trying to nail what would be the best approach. But we work really well with the Guam National Guard in terms of facilitating the second doses for GDOE. Operations at UOG are really going well so we hope they continue to do well with more people showing up,” Fernandez said.
With the confirmation of reducing the 6 ft. physical distancing rule to 3 ft., Fernandez says the vaccination plan has now become more critical.
He says that he is comfortable with the fact that GDOE is continuing to rely on the experts to help them better understand the distancing issues
“Over the last week or so, we became aware that there has been a study out in Massachusetts where they looked at half a million students who are in school face-to-face and varying distances and the study basically showed that whether it’s 3 ft. or 6 ft., there really isn’t a material distance in reducing the spread of COVID-19,” Fernandez said.
While Fernandez understands parents’ concerns, he says that ultimately, we need to get back into the mindset that students need to be physically back in a school setting and help students get back on track academically, socially, mentally, and emotionally.
He further reassured that GDOE is doing its part in following the proper protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on their school campuses.