Saipan schools not ready to open but students on Tinian and Rota head back to class.
Schools under the CNMI public school system opened their doors today, but only for students on Rota and Tinian. The news of this comes in the wake of typhoon Soudelor recovery efforts and an announcement from school officials that Saipan schools will most likely open next month on a half-day schedule.
Commissioner of Education Rita A. Sablan said in a statement Saturday that the community is returning back to school on Saipan with many different circumstances that are beyond our control. “These things include no power, no water, and unknown effects of typhoon Soudelor on children and their families,” Sablan said.
Today, Tinian elementary will welcome 315 students and Tinian Jr. high will welcome 292 students. Rota Sinapalo elementary school has an enrollment of 209 students and Dr. Rita H. Inos Jr. Sr. High School will open it’s doors to 224 students this school year. Students on Tinian and Rota are affected by the situation as well. Sablan explained that several initiatives and the implementation of program activities will be modified. One program, the distance education program, which hosts a variety of online classes, is one that will not be available for students on Rota and Tinian. Sablan said that the program will resume it’s normal operations in the second semester.
Acting principal of Rota’s junior-senior high school Annette Calvo explained how the situation has influenced the school year for students in the southern island. “Our online distance education program is closed because of the situation on Saipan,” Calvo said. “But we are able to manage to have our teachers teach that on campus. Our teachers here have tight schedules. A majority of our teachers here are teaching full-block.”
Approximately 80 high school students take online courses every year on Rota. Some of them do so to graduate on time or even earlier than expected. With a staff comprised of 16 teachers, teacher aids, and instructors, Calvo told PNC that some students may not be able to avail of that opportunity this year.
“We still manage to continue setting the schedule and making sure the classes are available to our students and making sure they are placed in the class they need to take. So, the operation still goes on, despite the challenges we have with not having the distance education program,” added Calvo. With nearly half of last year’s graduating class graduating months before the traditional graduation date, Calvo is adamant in making sure that all students fulfill their required credits for the school year.
Rota junior student and board of education student representative Angeline Guiang takes online classes as well. “It is…a bit complicated for us because the online classes we take. Sometimes we need it. Now that the online classes are postponed, we do have ground teachers so I think that would be okay in the meantime,” she said.
For information regarding the school calendar and other 2015 to 2016 school year updates visit cnmipss.org.