Many parents waiting for vaccine for their elementary kids before sending them to school

Guam Department of Education (PNC file photo)

There are 864 Guam Department of Education students not attending face-to-face classes or online learning because many of their parents are waiting for a COVID vaccine for those below 12 years old to be approved.

GDOE deputy superintendent Erika Cruz said they have been in touch with all 864 students and said many of them are just in fear of catching COVID and waiting for a vaccine for the elementary grade age group

“They also have family members who have compromised immune systems so they’re afraid to actually go to school. However, we’re working closely with them to potentially go into the remote model of learning and providing the necessary technology so they can participate in education. Or, if they choose to go face-to-face, then we can accommodate them as well,” Cruz said.

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said they will break down the numbers a little bit further and the reasons why students don’t want to participate in GDOE learning.

“Once we break down the numbers, we can probably give a better assessment. But you know there are some families out there that are keeping kids home because they’re scared. The ones that I’ve been in contact with recently happened to be the elementary school parents, and I think they’re more concerned because the vaccine is not yet available for that age group,” the GDOE superintendent said.

Fernandez said they are hopeful that the CDC will continue its review of the vaccines that are being developed for this age group.

“Our understanding is that there is a possibility that by the end of October, there might be a decision. Families have told me that if there is a vaccine, they would definitely feel more comfortable returning their child to school but because there’s no vaccine, they don’t feel as confident as they might, with an older child, so we definitely hope that becomes a case and there is a vaccine available to younger students. That will assist us in having our younger kids return from that situation. So, we’ll wait and see how that turns out,” Fernandez said.