PSS presents Covid-19 contingency plan

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EDUCATION Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada on Tuesday presented to the Board of Education a contingency plan for Covid-19.

He said the plan was created in consultation with Public School System principals and vice principals. “I have directed the entire team to have a mindset of ‘treat this as if we have at least one case of Covid-19 on island.’”

On Sunday, after it was reported that Guam had three confirmed Covid-19 cases, Ada announced a three-day class suspension.

After meeting with school administrators on Monday afternoon, Ada extended the class suspension until March 30 to allow students who competed off island to self-quarantine for 14 days.

279 students and teachers went on an off-island business trips from Feb. 27 to March 15, 2020.

“Majority of these travelers came from Guam,” Ada said.

He has asked these students and teachers to inform their school administration about their health status. School administrators will then coordinate with the Public Health and Emergency Preparation team if any of the students or teachers have Covid-19-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, which may occur two to 14 days after exposure.

The Board of Education met on Tuesday to discuss the Public School System’s contingency plan for Covid-19. In photo are BOE Chairwoman Janice Marie A. Tenorio, secretary/treasurer MaryLou S. Ada, teacher representative Paul Miura, board member Andrew L. Orsini, board member  Philip Mendiola-Long, Commissioner of Education Dr. Alfred B. Ada and other officials.  BOE Vice Chairman Herman Atalig participated via teleconference.  Contributed photo

“We agreed to [resume classes on] March 31st,” Ada said. “However, this may change as well because Covid-19 information changes every day. In the event that we do have the virus on island, we will make another announcement.”

Ada asked the BOE to give his team more time or until March 30 to explore online learning resources.

He said PSS has students, especially those in the special education program, that require one-on-one accommodations.

“It may require bus transportation so we can bring these students to the sites where the equipment and the resources are,” he added.

Associate Commissioner for Student Support Services Dr. Yvonne Pangelinan said PSS-Instruction Technology Director Dr. Bobby Cruz and distance education program manager Lorraine Catienza are convening a group of e-teachers to look into the possibility of online learning for all PSS students.

“We need to have the proper infrastructure to do this equitably and to adhere to privacy and security standards,” she said, adding that some students may not have the required devices or internet at home.

Also on Tuesday, Ada informed the BOE that the PSS-Child Nutrition Program will not serve student meals until March 30 for safety reasons.

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