Help available for families that want school uniforms but can’t afford them

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GDOE has issued an online survey, asking stakeholders for their feedback on whether GDOE should continue its suspension of the school uniforms mandate. (PNC file photo)

The Guam Department of Education is asking for feedback from stakeholders about school uniforms for the upcoming school year.

For families who are in favor of uniforms but are unable to afford them, GDOE Deputy Superintendent Erica Cruz said there are existing services available to help them obtain uniforms.

The contracts with the school uniforms are typically with the parent-teacher organization and the vendor. And within that contract, typically the parent-teacher organization is able to work with the vendors to incorporate free uniforms for students who are not able to afford to purchase one,” Cruz said.

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She added most schools also have uniform banks where students who have outgrown their clothes or are moving on to a different middle school or different high school can donate their uniforms.

“So those are beneficial for our schools and our students to be able to get used uniforms that are in good condition or to get free uniforms from our vendors,” Cruz said.

Knowing that island residents are still experiencing the effects of the pandemic, GDOE has issued an online survey, asking stakeholders for their feedback on whether GDOE should continue its suspension of the school uniforms mandate.

Cruz says that although it’s still too early to tell, she anticipates that stakeholder opinion will be split on the matter.

“At this point, it is premature to determine where our parents, our students, our school communities such as our teachers, administrators, and staff are leaning towards. But there’s benefits to both. What we really don’t want to do is provide more undue stress on our parents. We understand that they have reduced hours or have lost their jobs and we don’t want to provide that additional cost for their parents to send their children into school,” Cruz said.

The due date to complete GDOE’s uniform survey is this Friday. The Board of Education will discuss the results during its upcoming meeting next Tuesday.

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