GDOE mulls cutting social distancing rule from 6 to 3 feet

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As Guam schools return to face-to-face instruction, Guam Education Board members are considering changing social distancing guidelines

The Guam Department of Education is preparing for the possibility of lowering the distancing rule for face-to-face instruction to 3 feet.

Some members of the education board recently urged GDOE to reconsider the 6 ft. distancing rule but GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez has been vocal about strictly following Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s executive orders.

However, GDOE has been looking into national discussions about distance learning and has learned that the CDC is reviewing a Massachusetts study on the effects of 3-ft. versus 6-ft. distancing.

The study concluded that whether 3-ft. or 6-ft. apart, as long as schools continue to operate safely and perform the other required protocols, the outcomes will remain the same.

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“So if the CDC does decide — after reviewing this study and maybe a couple of other studies — that it will feel comfortable letting more students come back face-to-face, then we have to be prepared for that. So our team is working through both scenarios, a 6-ft. scenario, and the 3-ft. scenario. But that 3-ft. scenario, we call the normal scenario because students are already 3 feet apart in their classrooms on a normal day,” Fernandez said.

Meanwhile, as GDOE still continues to operate its immunization clinics, reports have surfaced that the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine may become available to minors under the age of 18.

Fernandez says he’s keeping track of the situation

“The issue of mandatory immunizations really isn’t on my priority list. That is something for the legislature, the Governor, and Public Health to decide on and implement. It has to go through extensive community involvement and I think an engagement process because there’s so many strong feelings both ways in terms of vaccinations in general, especially a vaccine that was developed in record time due to the pandemic,” Fernandez said.

GDOE will start a series of parent forums starting next week, Monday through Thursday, at 6 pm via Zoom.

Parents are invited to come and participate in the sessions where GDOE will discuss their plans for the schools and parents can voice out their suggestions, questions, and concerns.

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