CNMI State Board of Education vice chair Janice Tenorio is asking for the help of the local business community to assist them in the repairs that are needed to all bus stops that were damaged or destroyed when Super Typhoon Yutu swept through the island last October.
Tenorio made the appeal in last Wednesday’s Saipan Chamber of Commerce general membership meeting at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa-Saipan. PSS Office of Pupil Transportation director Shawn San Nicolas was with Tenorio at the meeting.
Public schools under the CNMI Public School System resumed classes last Monday, but Tenorio said that three schools are still being used as shelters and would open on Monday, Dec. 10.
Da’ok, Dandan Middle School, Oleai Elementary School, William S. Reyes Elementary School, Garapan Elementary School, Koblerville Elementary School, Chacha Oceanview Middle School, Saipan Southern High School, and Kagman High School resumed classes Monday.
Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, Kagman Elementary School, San Vicente Elementary School, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, Hopwood Middle School, Tanapag Middle School, Marianas High School, Early Head Start, and the Head Start Program would open next week.
GTC, GES, KES, TMS, Da’ok, KHS, and Chacha will have full-day sessions while OES, WSR, KobES, SVES, DMS, and FMS will have double sessions with their classes.
“The reason why I’m here is to humbly seek your assistance in regards to the bus stops,” said Tenorio.
BOE members and PSS personnel went around the island to check on the bus stops in the villages last Monday and they saw a number that were damaged by Yutu. “I humbly seek your assistance in regards to sponsoring and enhancing these bus stops.”
She acknowledged that many businesses or companies have adopted or sponsor some bus stops. McDonald’s, Lions Club, IT&E, Coral Ocean Point Golf Resort—under E-Land that includes Pacific Islands Club, and Kensington—Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, TanHoldings Corp., and Rep. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero (R-Saipan) are some of the bus stop sponsors.
“Their sponsored bus stops need to be repaired. We also have other bus stops used by our children that have not yet been sponsored,” said Tenorio, who added that she would provide the Chamber a list of bus stops that need a sponsor and repairs.
She said that bus stops provide shade to students early in the morning and late afternoon, especially now that schools would conduct two sessions to make up for the days when classes were suspended after the Yutu.
“These bus stops provide shelter to our kids as early as the 6:30am or 7am pickup. Then at 11:30am, they are dropped off back to their homes. Then the buses go back out for another round, which is mid-afternoon and that’s really hot,” said Tenorio.
“The kids stand there waiting for the bus in the morning and they get dropped off late, which is hot since we haven’t had much rain since the typhoon. On behalf of the BoE, I humbly ask for your help and appreciate the companies that can adopt and contribute in refurbishing or enhancing the current bus stops.”
Tenorio, who works full time as the manager of IT&E’s Customer Service division, said the past few weeks after the typhoon have been emotional for everyone. She expressed thanks, however, on behalf of the BoE and PSS, for helping in the efforts to help with the CNMI’s recover.
“But we worked so hard with the help of our local and federal government, the [local] Red Cross and other organizations, the [Federal Emergency Management Agency, military personnel, both active and reservists from all over the CNMI and the neighboring islands in Guam, Hawaii, and, I believe, also from Okinawa,” Tenorio said. “Thank you. Thank you, too, to all our first responders for their contribution in cleaning up our schools as well as the entire CNMI.”
She also praised San Nicolas for his everyday work in making sure the children are safe and are picked up on time. “He wakes up at 2am and goes to the bus depot down at Lower Base. He calls the bus drives, and ensures that buses go out in orderly fashion. [He] makes sure that all the buses are safe to transport our children to the schools from the different villages.”