Effective Thursday, the Archdiocese of Agana will be requiring Catholic school classes to be conducted completely through distance learning.
The decision comes at a time when COVID cases continue to climb within both schools and the community at large. The current local surge has surpassed the peak in cases caused by Delta.
However, the decision to move online was not because of the surge but because of a lack in testing kits from DPHSS, according to Father Val Rodriguez, Superintendent of Catholic Education.
Although there is no reported case of Omicron on the island, officials at the Department of Public Health and Social Services, namely Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, Acting Chief Medical Officer, say that it is likely already here.
According to Tony Diaz, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Agana, “Father Val made the decision with the concurrence of Archbishop Michael Byrnes and met with principals of all 13 Catholic schools and the Archdiocese of Agana’s COVID-19 Liaison Cathy Rivera Castro this morning.”
Distance learning is to continue for a period of two weeks. A letter to teachers from Mount Carmel states, “Face-to-face/in-person learning is scheduled to return on February 7, 2021.”
Pre-K and kindergarten students will still continue to do face-to-face classes during the two-week period–at least, for Mount Carmel.
Diaz notes that the February 7 projection is tentative and the “Archdiocese will continue to monitor the virus community-wide and will make updates as needed.”