GDOE: 4,700 students enrolled in summer school; school bus capacity increased

Guam Department of Education (PNC file photo)

The Guam Department of Education’s summer school program is off to a good start with more than 4,000 students enrolling and an increased school bus capacity.

During a recent Guam Education Board meeting, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said that to date 4,700 students are enrolled for their summer school program and school busses are accepting more riders.

“That is a good number to have compared to our normal school year. So at this point, GDOE is working to finalize the details. We did notice that the busses are now authorized to operate at 50% total load. That’s different from the distancing-required occupied seating so we’re going to have to discuss with the busses what the 50% load will look like and then line that up with the numbers that we expect at all of our schools and the process of that operation,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez says that behind the scenes, GDOE is assisting the Governor’s office as they try to allocate $33 million in ESF funds.

GDOE plans to supplement the summer school program and offer non-profit organizations and village mayors the opportunity to provide after-school and summer school activities for the island’s youth.

“We’ve welcomed in their participation and their help in engaging students in activities throughout the summer and after-school during the school year. Hopefully, we’ll be able to partner around some of our community learning centers, which is what the intent really was. That will save these organizations from having to find space and rent space and in addition, make it easier for the students at our schools to also engage. While they are in summer school or after summer school, they can participate in those activities on-site,” Fernandez said.

Meanwhile, in preparations for school year 2021-2022, GDOE is still moving forward with maximizing face-to-face instructional time for students.

Based on GDOE’s latest registration data, there are currently over 80% of students signed up for face-to-face instruction.

Fernandez says that after their school visitations, they already have confirmation that 15 to 20 schools are able and ready to have one face-to-face cohort on their campuses.

He adds other schools are very close but more support is still needed and GDOE is seeking flexibility from the Governor’s office and Public Health to provide one cohort to the rest of the schools.