GDOE to expand online learning; may cancel face-to-face instruction entirely

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GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez reassures that even with the budget cuts, they still have funds to proceed with the online learning program.

The Guam Department of Education plans to expand online learning and perhaps even cancel face-to-face instruction entirely due to the stricter PCOR-1 conditions ordered by the governor last week.

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez, in his report to the Guam Education Board Tuesday night, said he doesn’t expect that the public health emergency condition will be lessened.

“In fact, I think it’ll most likely be extended beyond the 29th, which is when we were originally supposed to end the current emergency period. So, with that in mind, we have been focusing on a plan that we will continue to update you on, but is really a plan to try to move as many students as we can to the online model,” Fernandez said.

The GDOE superintendent said they decided on this course of action because face-to-face instruction will obviously not be allowed to begin for some time.

“The executive order even forced us to suspend our hardcopy distribution. So we are working with the front office and Public Health, to try to get approval to restart the hardcopy distribution. What we’re being informed, is to submit a plan for the distribution of hard copies, so that they can review it. If it’s approved, then we can begin to do the distribution,” Fernandez said.

But for now, Fernandez said the department is really leaning on expanding online learning.

“What we are doing presently is getting the inventory of all the working laptops that we have at the schools and preparing them for distribution. We’re looking at a start focusing in on our high school and middle school students. However, we know this plan is subject to further modification as the teams that we have working on it, continue to evaluate and propose the distribution details,” Fernandez said.

He added: “But it’s clear that if we’re going to go into a prolonged state of emergency where we can’t even do the hardcopy distribution, we are going to be forced to do our best to expand the online learning model. So that’s the idea we’re looking at for a two-week time frame.”

And also, as new equipment comes in, Fernandez said this will allow GDOE to further expand the number of students online.

“So, we’ll hope to continue to update you as those plans come, you’ll get more detail, but that is the plan of action for now,” Fernandez said.

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