2-week target pressed for PSS


Board of Education chair Marylou Ada is pressing the Public School System to resume classes within two weeks.

During Thursday’s board meeting on Capital Hill, Ada is pushing the PSS management to get the schools ready and safe for students’ use.

When later asked about the planned timeline for schools to open, Ada said, “We are now looking at two weeks.”

“Once schools are ready to go, they would be opened,” she added.

Interim PSS commissioner Glenn Muña was offered the permanent PSS chief position at that same meeting. He has yet to accept the offer, according to a BOE member Thursday.

Ada noted that PSS would not be opening all 20 schools at once because some campuses sustained more damage compared to others, but she stressed that PSS is “…not going to wait.”

“We have seniors that have to graduate on time. We will not let them stay back for an additional quarter because…they did not meet [high school graduation requirements],” said Ada, reiterating the two-week target to open PSS schools.

She said any target date that’s longer than that is too long.

Muña earlier noted would take about seven weeks for PSS to resume classes but “…seven weeks is just far too long,” Ada said.

“I don’t want to open schools sometime in January. Mt. Carmel School is already opening; everybody is opening except [PSS]… Let’s not open in seven weeks. Let’s open in one, two weeks,” she told Muña.

He replied that the seven-week period is only a target date and that a school would open once it is ready.

Ada asserted that some schools, such as the Tinian Elementary School, are ready to re-open.

BOE Tinian representative Florine Hofschneider contradicted her, saying that Tinian is far from ready.

“Tinian is not ready. Teachers and administrators have [damaged] homes… Let’s take everything into consideration, not just the students and the building,” she said, adding that a student’s mindset also plays into their ability to learn.

The BOE ultimately voted to lift the policy prohibiting double sessions, allowing for classes to catch up. The BOE also decided to either relocate or consolidate schools that are too damaged for immediate repair, such as the Hopwood Middle School, William S. Reyes Elementary School, and the Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, to name a few.

The specifics were not discussed during the board meeting, which halfway through, had their power cut off.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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