As expected, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero late Friday afternoon confirmed that she is temporarily suspending face-to-face learning for pre-kinder through 12th grade, effective Monday, August 30, 2021, at 8 a.m.
The governor said she made the decision upon the advice and consultation with Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez, and the leadership of the private and charter schools,
“While data at this time does not indicate the existence of school clusters, I am being proactive about the eventuality of spread in our schools. I am receiving messages and calls concerning the fears and anxieties that our parents, teachers, and students are facing because of the increase in positive cases. I recognize that our children’s education is critical. But my concern for their protection comes first,” Leon Guerrero said in a special video address.
She added: “During this suspension, I want to assure you that Superintendent Fernandez as well as the leadership of the private and charter schools are working to assess other modes of learning.”
Aside from the suspension of face-to-face learning, the governor also announced a limit on social gatherings to no more than 10 vaccinated persons indoors and 25 vaccinated
persons outdoors effective Monday, August 30, 2021, at 8 a.m.
Restaurant dine-in and bars will remain at 100% vaccinated occupancy but all other limitations continue.
In her video message, the governor stressed that Guam’s situation is serious.
Over the past several days, the governor said the island witnessed a surge of positive COVID-19 cases. In the last five days alone, the island had consecutive days of triple-digit positive infection results.
Hospitalizations have increased 300% in the last two weeks and there are 35 COVID hospitalizations between GMH, GRMC, and Naval Hospital, 5 of which are in the ICU.
Of these 35 admissions, at least 20 are not vaccinated.
“The rising number of cases, the hospitalizations, and the growing pressure on our fragile
healthcare system, among other factors, sends a clear signal that it is time to adjust our
strategy,” Leon Guerrero said.
Before making her announcement, the governor had been meeting with Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez and the leaders of Catholic schools today to determine their plan of action.
Even before an official announcement from Adelup, the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce already posted on its social media page that public and private school grades K-12 in-person classes will be temporarily suspended.
Daycares will still be operational but social gatherings of vaccinated individuals will be limited to 10 people (inside) and 25 people (outside).
Letters from school administrations to parents also began circulating online informing parents that the governor has announced that schools on Guam will all be closed effective Monday, August 30, and that classes will henceforth be held online.
The Guam Department of Education and the Catholic schools on island have been under pressure from concerned parents to stop in-person learning and go back again to online classes.
GDOE’s Fernandez had said that students are not getting infected within the schools but outside the school setting.
Nevertheless, Fernandez said GDOE is preparing for any eventuality and planning for multiple scenarios.
The twin planks of the department’s “Sin Kasu” back-up plan involves a return to full online instruction or an increase in the number of cohorts in schools, meaning classes will be divided into groups that will alternate in order to reduce the number of students in classrooms.
As of last count, there were already 69 students who tested positive for COVID-19 and 31 of the island’s 41 public schools have had COVID infections.