Catholic schools prepared for the new school year

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Within days of resuming classes in the first two weeks of August, Guam’s Catholic schools are prepared to welcome students for the reopening of schools in safe and healthy environments.

Specific opening days for Archdiocese of Agaña schools are expected to be announced by tomorrow. Schools are prepared to address the needs of students and deliver sound and effective academic lessons while paying attention to the social and emotional well-being of students from PreK classes to the 12th grade. All Catholic schools are communicating with the families of their students in various ways to support the adjustment to the new school year and the new school protocols. The schools will continue to support the students with practices rooted in the Catholic faith.

All 14 Catholic schools have taken measures to ensure that classrooms and high touch areas will be initially and periodically sanitized. Students will be required to wear masks, wash their hands regularly, and have access to hand sanitizing solutions when necessary. Students’ temperatures will be taken and recorded upon their entrance to campus and/or individual classrooms. Schools have made significant purchases and installed equipment to maximize health and safety precautions. Various activities, such as the dropping off and picking up of students, assigning students to classes, picking up lunches, and carrying out academic and other activities will follow social distancing protocols. For some schools and at some grade levels, students will be assigned to cohort groups and will stay with those groups throughout the day. Teachers will move from class to class.

Teachers and administrators have spent the summer preparing for the new approaches to effective teaching and learning amidst the COVID-19 challenges. Preparations for distance learning, adjustments to the regular uses of digital devices, and conducting classes with limited interactions among students have been part of the efforts leading to the reopening of the schools. After almost five months away from school, teachers are prepared to welcome students and help them adjust to the school environments. They will be aware of the students’ anxieties about returning to interactions with individuals outside their immediate families. The teachers will also pay attention to the needs of students that go beyond the academic expectations of the classroom environment.

In preparing for the new school year, schools have held or have scheduled orientations for students’ families to ensure that they understand and will support the health and safety protocols.

The orientations will also open opportunities to more effective communication between teachers

and parents, especially in addressing students’ academic and social and emotional needs. More than ever, the partnerships between schools and families will lead to a successful adjustment to the new school year and a meaningful and rewarding experience for the students.

Parents are encouraged to contact individual schools if they have questions on specific reopening protocols and expectations.