BOE’s Atalig: Some schools not ready to open Oct. 5

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Posted on Oct 01 2020

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With the Public School System getting ready for the reopening of face-to-face classes in four days, Board of Education vice chair Herman Atalig said some public school campuses are not ready.

Atalig, who is also the chairman of the BOE Committee on Capital Improvement Projects, said at the BOE board meeting on Tuesday that he visited schools and has deemed them not ready and not in compliance with the government’s executive order on COVID-19 safety measures.

One of the biggest problems among some schools is having to comply with the 6-foot social distancing rule, Atalig said, adding that it’s PSS’ job to ensure that students are safe, and that schools are protected from any potential liability.

BOE member Andrew Orsini suggested delaying the opening of some schools that aren’t ready yet, but also going ahead with opening schools that are in full compliance with the COVID-19 safety measures.

Orsini believes that transitioning from remote learning to face-to-face instruction will create a lot of mixed emotions, hence it’s best to be aware of which schools are not ready to open yet, that each school principal take the lead in making that decision whether they’re ready to go with face-to-face instruction, that there are even teachers who are spending their own money to provide essentials like hand sanitizers and masks. Orsini stated that schools who aren’t ready should be able to hold back and open later when they’re ready to open.

Orsini said that classroom instruction is always good when everything is in place, but if things aren’t and a school falls short on some safety measures, there’s going to be problems, which is something that he suggests the BOE should avoid.

PSS is set to welcome students back to campuses on Oct. 5 but each classroom will only have 10 or fewer students.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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