PSS suspends travels of students participating in US competitions

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TO help prevent a Covid-19 outbreak on island, Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said all Public School System travels have been suspended, including those for students who will participate in national competitions.

PSS is part of the governor’s Covid-19 Task Force, which consists of various government agencies and organizations.

Led by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna and Covid-19 Task Force Chairman Warren Villagomez, the task force held a press conference on Wednesday in the governor’s conference room to provide updates about its work in establishing containment and mitigation protocols in the CNMI.

Ada said the PSS students’ travels to participate in competitions in the U.S. are federally funded.

This is why PSS federal programs manager Tim Thornburgh is in Washington, D.C. to meet with a federal grant officer, Ada added.

“We want to know what is going to happen to the funds because those are already marked for student competitions. We are hoping that the [federal grantors] will consider our situation,” he said.

This year, PSS students are supposed to compete in the following events:

• Golden West Coast National Drill Meet in Torrance, California on April 25.

• Real World Design Challenge in Washington, D.C., April 25.

• (Inter)2Sect championship, a math competition, in California, April 4.

• A National Speech and Debate Association competition in July.

Ada said PSS will submit to CHCC a draft of the school system’s standard operating procedure.

He said they plan to implement a 14-day self-quarantine for teachers and students who return from a trip to the U.S. or Guam. “They will be allowed to go to school only after 14 days or until CHCC clears them,” Ada said.

In addition, PSS will distribute information materials and sanitizers at school sites and will encourage students and teachers to practice good personal hygiene, Ada said.

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