Education board member proposes expansion of face-to-face learning by 80 percent in the summer

Guam Department of Education (PNC file photo)

An education board member is urging the Guam Department of Education to start looking into summer instead of the next school year to expand face-to-face instruction

In the last GEB work session, one of the main topics of discussion was the possibility of expanding face-to-face instruction.

Robert Crisostomo, Guam Education Board member and principal of Saint Anthony Catholic School,  says his school came back full force for face-to-face instruction with only 20% on remote learning.

Understanding the challenges that GDOE and the schools are facing, Crisostomo believes GDOE is on the right path.

However, Crisostomo suggested that GDOE should start the expansion of face-to-face by 80 percent in the summer so that when the next school year comes, parents would feel more reassured.

“This school year’s a wash, sir. I don’t even know why they’re giving the ACT Aspire test. It’s ludicrous but we’re going to take it anyway. Unless you have a medical reason why you’re not going to school, come back and work with the Governor over the summer to reduce that 6 feet distance. We’re doing everything we can in the classrooms. I have air purifiers, I have desk shields, I have face shields, masks. What I didn’t do is put saran wrap around their face and heads,” Crisostomo said.

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says that as much as they would all like to maximize face-to-face instruction, especially based on their own research, they must follow CDC precautions and guidelines.

“I think, as you mentioned, we are well aware of the 6-feet distancing rule and the issues there and as you know, we’re bound to follow Public Health guidelines. But I’ve informed the Lt. Governor that if Public Health is considering and is going to be working on any changes, we’re happy to be a part of that conversation because we’re doing our own research. We know that the World Health Organization is using a distancing requirement of a meter, which is 3 feet, closer to 3 feet than 6 feet, but we know that CDC is still recommending 6 feet. So it’s an active debate,” Fernandez said.

More than 26,000 students are enrolled in the public school system.

Fernandez says with the 6 feet distancing rule, most of their schools, on average can only accept 30%-40% out of their total student population and not on an everyday basis.