Parents have mixed feelings about reopening of schools

GDOE students (PNC file photo)

Parents have mixed feelings on whether or not it’s safe for the Guam Department of Education to be opening up its campuses for face-to-face instruction.

Since GODE’s announcement of opening schools for face-to-face instruction, parents all over the island have had mixed reactions.

GDOE officials confirmed hearing these concerns.

Many parents are expressing their concerns, support, and differing opinions about the school campus re-openings in social media and in talks with GDOE officials.

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One of those is Gwendolyn Aguon, who has 4 children in elementary, middle, and high schools. Aguon says that although she’s very much concerned for her children’s safety, she understands the importance of them interacting with their peers and teachers, saying it’s also the parents’ responsibility to have their children continue practicing COVID-19 protocols at home.

“So my little one is very excited that she’s attending elementary face-to-face. My high schooler, she also wants to go back because she says she learns much better with engagement, asking questions right then and there with the teachers, while my middle schooler, he’s kind of in the special assistance program, he’s hard of hearing and needs speech therapy. So for me too, especially, the one-to-one is crucial for his educational advancement,” Aguon said.

She added: “But I’m kind of worried. I’m going just to see what they have in place, I’m pretty convinced that they’re going to be safe.”

In a Guam Education Board meeting last Friday, GDOE Deputy Superintendent Joe Sanchez says they understand parents’ concerns and certain circumstances can have them change their original model of learning.

“We want to be as flexible and as accommodating to the families as possible because we understand that these decisions are a lot of times based on the number of infections and the data that’s been provided basically on the dashboard. But when we’re too flexible, we have so many students switching models of learning which you ask any teacher, any administrator, would create a lot of havoc,” Sanchez said.

He added: “What we’re really asking the community to do is when they make these decisions, whether or not, they’re going with a particular model, try as much as possible to stick with that model.”

Additionally, Sanchez says that by sticking to their model of learning, this helps teachers and administrators better plan their schedules, assignments, and adjustments for not just face-to-face but all the models of learning.