DoDEA letter to parents explains decision to keep schools open

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The Department of Defense Education Activity for the Pacific South District has issued a letter to parents of students at Guam’s DoDEA schools explaining the decision to keep the schools open despite 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Guam.

In his letter, Superintendent Jim Journey writes “I understands you may feel uncertainty or anxiety during this situation and sending your children anywhere outside the home may seem risky.”   But he assured the parents that “student health and safety are the number one consideration in all decisions.”

He explains that school officials, in conjunction with Joint Region Marianas and military health care providers, have determined that “it is appropriate for DoDEA schools to remain in operation at this time,” states the letter.

According to the letter, keeping the students in class will allow for:

*Frequent opportunities for students to wash their hands or use appropriate hand sanitizer products under close supervision of school staff.

*Applying social distancing measures to create space when appropriate and limit large gathering beyond classroom operations

*Cleaning all classrooms, hallways, common areas and routine disinfection of frequently touched surfaces or objects  (i.e. door knobs, hand rails, counter-tops) to a level of sanitation prescribed by the CDC

*Procedures in place for handing any student or employee who displays symptoms of the virus while at school. Working in conjunction with local military public health officials, notifications maybe provided as appropriate which could include closures as deemed necessary.

“If a DoDEA school is open,” concludes Journey “it is because school and military leaders have conducted a careful assessment of the situation and determined that it is safe to do so.”