What was supposed to be the first day of face-to-face instruction at the Public School System turned out to be another day off.
PSS had a setback on its first day of back-to-school as the day fell on an Austerity Monday, which was implemented starting last Oct. 5.
This not only restricted PSS from being back in school but also caused a shift in its calendar year, according to Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada, who said that the extra day off threw a monkey wrench on PSS’ already set calendar.
Fiscal year 2020 started off with austerity Fridays, when the government would essentially shut down every other Friday as a cost-saving measure. However, starting fiscal year 2021 last Oct. 1, the CNMI government shifted it to Mondays—hence Austerity Mondays—reportedly since the federal government in the U.S. mainland is closed on Sundays (Mondays in the CNMI).
According to Ada, though, this has caused a shift in their calendar because there are more holidays that fall on a Monday, which means the austerity will be implemented the next day (which means the CNMI government will close on a Tuesday).
Ada said that this will result in shortchanging their instruction time within the week, which means if there’s a holiday on a Monday and austerity is on Tuesday, they have to do five days’ work within the three days that they are given.
Additionally, although there are three schools that are ready to open for students starting Oct. 6: the William S. Reyes Elementary School, Marianas High School, and Tinian Junior High School, Ada said there are also some schools that are requesting to open on Oct. 14. This will give them extra time to take care of their students’ devices, Mi-Fis, and inspections.
Though it might be a little off that schools are starting on different days, Ada says that this won’t cause a disruption in their already set calendar because the learning packets that were distributed continues.
Ada said that whatever is in the learning packet is also in the remote learning lessons, which means there’s no difference in instruction content.
As far as inspections are concerned, Ada said that some schools are scheduled for Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, that five more schools are waiting to be inspected by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the Environmental Health Disease Prevention, and PSS.