Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada has confirmed that all Public School System graduation and promotion ceremonies for school year 2019-2020 are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Ada, he doesn’t want to keep anyone’s hopes up and, although he doesn’t want to cancel the graduations, it’s become absolutely necessary for the safety of the students, PSS staff, and the entire community. The CNMI already has two positive cases of the coronavirus infections.
“At this point, we are canceling all graduations for now until further notice. If something else comes up, like an idea, we will explore that. I don’t want to give any false hopes and say, ‘We might still have graduation,’” he said.
Ada added that Distance Education learning packets have also been cancelled until further notice because teachers and staff are afraid to leave home and go to their respective campuses to prepare the packets and grade them.
Distance Education will now be called Enhancement Learning, according to Ada, which is strictly internet-based.
Enhancement Education will prioritize seniors to get them the necessary credits to pursue higher education.
“It’s not equitable for everybody because not all families have the resources to do Enhancement Learning, but we are prioritizing the seniors, making sure that they can continue their education,” he said.
Also, PSS cancelled its Grab & Go Meal Distribution program as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in the CNMI.
PSS suspended all meal distributions until further notice because they lack the manpower to continue the program.
Ada explained that following the announcement of two positive COVID-19 cases in the CNMI last Saturday, many of the volunteers who were helping out during the last three days of meal distribution no longer wanted to volunteer because they are afraid.
“Some of the workers are afraid to come out and continue distributing food to the public. We took that into consideration and it has created a shortage in manpower,” he said.