GDOE alters COVID safety measures and protocols

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The Guam Department of Education has updated its safety measures and protocols regarding outdoor mask-wearing and physical distancing.

PNC’s Destiny Cruz has more…

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April 19 marked the 14-day benchmark after Guam’s official designation as a low-level risk region per the CDC community levels metrics, resulting in the Department of Public Health and Social Services Guidance Memorandum 2022-11 Amendment 02 as effective.

Additionally, In accordance with Governor Leon Guerrero’s Executive Order 2022-09, face masks and physical distancing are no longer required outdoors at schools and outdoor GDOE Interscholastic Sports Association competitions.

In an interview earlier today, PNC spoke with GDOE Deputy Superintendent Erika Cruz about GDOE’s updated safety measures and protocols. Cruz says the department is following the Governor’s guidance, explaining “We are following the guidance relative to the use of face masks and physical distancing– so students are no longer required to wear face masks outdoors and then as far as physical distancing, students are not held to that 6 feet distancing as we previously had. Obviously, parents, I’m sure, will talk to their children to talk about safety precautions and whatnot- we may have parents who may continue to have their children use face masks and continue physical distancing.”

Despite the lifting of outdoor mask-wearing and physical distancing, these two safeguards remain optional for students. Cruz ensured that GDOE’s priority is the safety of its students and underscored the significance of parents communicating with their children about what is most comfortable for them and abiding by safety protocols that remain in place.

Moreover, earlier this week, Governor Leon Guerrero announced that Guam’s indoor mask requirements could potentially lift on May 3rd, contingent on sustained low transmission rates and hospitalizations. When asked if GDOE has a prepared plan in place should the indoor mask mandate lift, Cruz stated that GDOE would operate in accordance with the Governor’s executive order and DPHSS guidelines, should it include schools. Additionally, she added that school administrators have preemptively begun surveying parents regarding this matter.

According to GDOE PIO Michele Franzuez, “although no longer mandated, physical distancing is encouraged for the safety of our students, employees, and our community.”