Bill seeks temporary exemption for service learning to help graduating high school seniors

Senator Telena Nelson (PNC file photo)

Provided that high school seniors meet all other graduation requirements stipulated by the Guam Department of Education, Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson has introduced Bill No. 332-35 to exempt 12th-grade students from having to complete service learning hours during Guam’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“While service learning is meant to impart an important value to our students, we must do our part to ensure that eligible students can still graduate and receive the diplomas they rightfully earned, especially as our island continues adapting to the unique circumstances presented by our COVID-19 response,” said Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson, chairperson of the Committee on Education. “This measure will temporarily help to pave the road to graduation for our high school seniors who we pray will continue seeking opportunities to serve our community throughout their lives.”

Bill No. 332-35 proposes that 12th grade GDOE students of school year 2019-2020 be exempt from the service learning requirement under Public Law 30-53, provided that the student meets all other graduation requirements. The Superintendent of Education would be required to submit to the Guam Education Board a list of students eligible for this proposed exemption.

Due to Guam’s COVID-19 outbreak and response, students have been unable to seek and perform service learning hours. GDOE has sought guidance on waiving this requirement by temporarily adjusting the law. The Vice Speaker’s measure will accomplish this request.

“We will continue working to ensure that our eligible 12th grade students are able to graduate and receive the recognition they’ve earned,” Nelson added.