GDOE provides more internet access to students as community learning centers post low turnouts

Guam Department of Education (PNC file photo)

The Guam Department of Education is one step closer to getting home internet device Mifi’s ready for students using online learning even as it addresses the low turnouts at the recently opened community learning centers.

As GDOE plans to eliminate the hard copy module by the end of this year, parents are encouraged to make the decision during the 4th quarter to choose between online or face-to-face instruction.

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says they are prepared for those who want to transition to online learning.

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“We can transition them as early as the 4th quarter so that they can get used to the new model of learning, get used to the computers, and ensure they have the internet access. So we anticipate providing the internet access definitely before the end of this month. That’s the final waiting period for the procurement. And then our shipment of laptops has arrived so we do have the available equipment to distribute,” Fernandez said.

The low turnout at the community learning centers was also bought up for discussion among the Guam Education Board members during their regular meeting.

According to Fernandez, this has always been an ongoing dialogue between GDOE schools, communities, their mayors, and non-profit organizations even before the pandemic.

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“We have facilities throughout the island and we have available space but typically we lock it up for the weekend or go home for the day. Those facilities don’t serve any other purpose because we don’t tend to allow for our community members to make use of the facilities just for the need to keep these facilities clean and in good condition as much as possible,” Fernandez said.

He added: “The students aren’t going to show up there themselves necessarily. I mean, we’ve been a community in lockdown so out in the community, we’ve been pretty strict about it. So I didn’t anticipate that they would rush back to the school facilities when we didn’t have schools open for regular activities as well.”

Coming out of the pandemic, Fernandez says that he does see the potential of the community learning centers as they augment GDOE ‘s online programs.

If GDOE finds that there are schools that don’t garner the demand for the centers, they will consider shutting them down and putting resources somewhere else.