GDOE allays concerns about student online safety

Guam Department of Education (PNC file photo)

With schooling currently in an online learning basis only, health and social distancing aren’t the only safety issues parents are worried about.

As we are learning to adapt to the new norm of schooling, from students virtually introducing themselves to their classmates to the location of their homes, parents have also expressed concerns on social media with regard to their children’s online safety.

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez talks about this issue and what GDOE is and will do to address this.

“Of course it’s not really clear all the time if it’s with a public or a private school because I’m sure all schools are dealing with the same issues, Fernandez said.

For GDOE, Fernandez said they are using the Google platform which is what the department uses for its e-mail system. All GDOE students have to log on to their GDOE accounts and Fernandez said this provides them with some level of control and security from GDOE’s central technology office regarding what students will be able to access or not.

“We are using the Google Platform, including Google Classroom, Google Meet and so forth. I’ve heard that some teachers have used Zoom and Zoom has presented some challenges in terms of security and hackers and other situations that we want to avoid. But we’ll be going over that as we look over the next couple of weeks of experiencing the online shift from many of our teachers,” Fernandez said.

GDOE is also currently working on the distribution of the hard copy packets and roughly 8,000 computers to further expand and improve the home-based learning program.

Students can expect to pick up the hard copy packets by next week and GDOE wants to remind parents and employees to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols.

In addition, drastic budget cuts have been made with Bill 282-35 which included public schools possibly losing millions in federal grants.