GDOE considering various options for return to in-person instruction

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GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez (PNC file photo)

The Guam Department of Education is considering various options for when it finally decides to return to in-person classroom learning.

During the online meeting with parents on Saturday, GDOE superintendent Jon Fernandez reiterated that there still aren’t any final decisions about reopening and that the options are just that —- options that can be used as planning tools for the potential reauthorization of in-person learning.

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The first option is a full and complete return to in-person classroom learning for everyone.

“If we can do so safely, and depending on the community risk situation, that we can get our kids all back to in-person learning, maximize instructional time, and continue to practice our safe practices at the school level …. that’s actually our real goal. We want our kids back in class, five days a week for instruction,” Fernandez said.

The second option is to go into “cohorts” with GDOE dividing the school population into two groups where half of the school kids go to school on one day, and the other half goes on the next day on a rotating schedule.

“And the point of this is really to lower the daily number of kids on campus. We look at this as a phased-in approach that will eventually lead us back to the full return to in-person learning,” Fernandez said.

Finally, the third option is basically a mix of some elements of the two other options. There have been suggestions, for instance, that secondary school students, because they’re vaccinated or they’re eligible for vaccination, can go ahead and attend in-person classroom learning, while those younger students still not eligible for vaccination can attend online classes.

“Some of those ideas about hybrid really means that maybe some part of the student population comes back for in-person learning, and maybe for five days of instruction. And maybe for some other categories of students, we take a different approach based on the risk, based on their vulnerability, and so forth,” the GDOE Superintendent said.

Fernandez said they will continue to update parents about the different options out there as well as the health situation of the community in general.

“We have tried to iron out the options and recommendations for the reopening of school and your input is really critical for letting us understand what issues you think need to be addressed,” Fernandez said.

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