First day of classes for GDOE students moved to August 12

The exterior of the Guam Department of Education in Tiyan Barrigada in Tiyan, Barrigada. PNC file photo

The Guam Department of Education (GDOE) has announced that August 12 will be the first day of classes for School Year (SY) 2021-2022 and that Board Policy (BP) 401 – the school uniform policy – will be reinstated for the school year as well.

The original start date for SY 2021-2022 was originally Tuesday, August 10, 2021. At its board meeting on June 29, 2021, the Guam Education Board approved a motion to add additional professional development days to the start of the school year and to move the first day of classes to August 12th.

Teachers will report for their first day on August 6 for a teacher workday, and then they will participate in professional development from August 9-11. The additional professional development days will be used to ensure sufficient opportunity to provide training or refresh training for teachers and staff as the department prepares for the return of face-to-face instruction for most students. The amended SY 2021-2022 calendar is available on the GDOE website.

Board Policy (BP) 401 requires schools to implement a uniform policy for all students. In light of the pandemic last year, the Guam Education Board suspended BP 401 for SY 2020-2021. This year, as the island works towards recovery, the department conducted a survey of school administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and students.

The survey received 4,182 total responses and resulted in 62% in favor of reinstating the uniform policy for the coming school year and 38% — predominantly secondary school students – in favor of suspending the policy an additional year.

The Island-wide Board of Governing Students also conducted its own survey of students and found that only 11% of students supported mandating uniforms while 89% supported making uniforms optional. After reviewing the survey results, the GEB voted 8-0 (one absent) to reinstate BP 401 and the requirement for students to wear school uniforms at school.

“Based on the survey results, including the additional student survey from our IBOGS, we knew that school employees would favor school uniforms and that students would want more flexibility,” said Mark Mendiola, Chairman of the GEB. “What was a key result for me was the fact that roughly 70 percent of parents surveyed wanted school uniforms back. It’s the parents that we are trying to assist, and so the board took action in line with the survey results. We had a good cross-section of stakeholders who responded to the survey and the board would like to thank everyone who took the opportunity to state their position on the uniform policy.”

“We are just weeks away from the start of the school year, so it was important for the board to go ahead and set the first day of classes and make a decision on uniforms,” said GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez. “This gives parents an opportunity to plan for the start of the school year and to get the uniforms they need for their children. For those families who may need additional help to purchase uniforms, due to financial challenges, they need to contact their schools directly so that vendors can be contacted for support. The vendors came in and promised their assistance in helping families in need, and we look forward to them working with us.”

To read the amended SY 2021-2022 calendar, click the PDF below:

Approved Calendar 06.29.21 - SY 2021-2022 updated 6.17.21

(GDOE Release)