Bill introduced to exempt GDOE from required 180 days of instruction

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Senator Telena Nelson has introduced a bill that would exempt the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) from fulfilling 180 instructional days for the pandemic years–that is, School Years (SY) 2019-2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022.

“Due to COVID, it was really sporadic,” GDOE Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Joseph Sanchez told PNC. “It was hit-or-miss for a lot of students.”

Online learning had in part reduced the number of hours lost to the pandemic, said Sanchez, but despite best efforts, instructional time could not be provided.

The authors of the bill, however, recognize that GDOE had met the instructional day requirement during SY2020-2021, “but students were in cohorts and did not receive the required number of instructional days.”

Sanchez continued, “Especially on the days when they were alternating schedules, the students themselves may not have gotten the full number of days. It does say in the bill that, based on our calculation, it would have been 24 days that would have actually been missed [in SY2021-2022].”

Sanchez acknowledges that GDOE as an agency supports the legislation and has thanked the 36th Guam Legislature for introducing the bill at their request. “Although this past year, the argument can be made the 180 days were met because teachers met those days, we felt it was still important just to solidify that because students,” said Sanchez.

The measure provides a cushion for GDOE in case unforeseen developments from COVID make it impossible to achieve the 180-day (or equivalent 900 hr.) requirement.

As of publication, the bill has not been scheduled for a public hearing.