Face masks still mandatory at PSS

Posted on Apr 15 2022


Face masks are still required for schools of the CNMI Public School System despite the CNMI being now at community level low, based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s metric.

Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred B. Ada said in a memorandum last week that PSS will continue to enforce the 3 Ws—wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands—in all schools, offices, and facilities.

Gov. Ralph Torres had already eased the mask requirement in the CNMI when the CNMI was already considered at community level medium, making it now a personal choice whether you want to wear a mask or not in a public place.

However, the CDC still recommends the wearing of masks indoors for all individuals ages 2 years and older, including students, teachers, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

As a result, according to Ada, “to ensure that we keep our safety and care measures in place, PSS will continue to enforce the 3 Ws. …To protect our vulnerable populations at schools, as well as the families of our students and staff, face masks will remain mandatory.”

When asked how he feels that masks are still required in school, a Marianas High School sophomore student said, “I feel much safer with the mask. I’m okay with it. I still wear masks when I go out in public too, like the stores or anywhere.”

In the same memorandum, Ada commends all staff, students, leaders, and families for “keeping education, health, and safety top priority.”

“PSS will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in our community and will keep you updated as circumstances change,” he added.

Saipan Tribune archives state that the CNMI is now at community level low due to the high vaccination rate against COVID-19 in the CNMI and availability of treatments such as monoclonal antibodies.

Ada assures parents and families that “we will continue to revisit our protocols in place and make decisions in the best interest of our students.

To see the protocols in place, visit https://www.cnmipss.org/covid-19-updates

Individuals who are experiencing mild symptoms may get tested at designated testing sites, rather than in the CHCC emergency department as it is not a testing site. 

Individuals can get tested at the Koblerville COVID-19 Community Center, which is open Monday to Friday from 12:30pm to 3pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30am to 11am. 

Local pharmacies and stores now carry at-home COVID-19 test kits for those who are interested. Free at-home COVID-19 test kits are also available at www.covidtests.gov.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at leigh_gases@saipantribune.com.

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