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‘Online classes are still the safest way for my child to learn’

Posted on Oct 27 2020

Despite what is being touted as a low risk of contracting COVID-19 in the CNMI, two Public School System parents feel strongly about not having their children go back to school for face-to-face instruction because there is still a risk of COVID-19 exposure.

The two parents, who agreed to talk on the condition that they not be named, agree that they don’t feel comfortable with their children attending face-to-face instruction.

Additionally, both parents are comfortable with online classes because, at the moment, it’s a safer way for their child to learn without that risk of exposure. “I feel like online classes are great and the safest way for my child to learn. Also, the instructions for online classes are great and easy for my child to understand,” said one male parent.

Both declined the Public School System’s offer of an iPad and MiFi for their children because they have suitable technology and internet and would rather have someone else, who really needs it, to avail of the iPad and MiFi.

Their sentiments echo what majority said in a survey that PSS conducted among parents about their preferences in how PSS will conduct instruction for students.

Of the 1,174 parents who responded to the survey, 41.7% said they are uncomfortable with the idea of sending their children back to school for in-person instruction, while 26.1% said they are comfortable. Some 32.2% responded “neutral,” which was interpreted to mean that these parents would be okay with either in-person or online instruction.

Bobby Cruz, Public School System-Instructional Technology and Distance Education director, presented the results of the survey at a virtual meeting organized by the Parents Advisory Committee last Oct. 24. The survey obtained a total of 1,568 responses: 1,174 from parents, 364 from teachers, and 34 from school administrators.

According to Cruz, the survey results will help PSS move forward in determining how the school system is going to “move into different modes of instructions.” Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred B. Ada, said that the results will guide PSS as they carry out its hybrid and remote learning system.

Of the 1,174 parents who participated in the survey, 36.3% said they will not send their children to school because the parents believe there is still considerable risk; 28.4% said they will return their children to school when they are able to because they believe the risk will be managed; 16.9% said they have no choice but to return their children to school due to their work; and 6.2% said they have no choice but to return their children to school due to their work and they believe the risk will be managed.

After an inspection of all schools and assuming that all safety measures are in place, 37.6% of the 1,185 parents still prefer online instruction; 27.8% hybrid; and 31.4% prefer in-person classes. When asked if their children can access Blackboard Classroom or log on to live sessions, 94.7% said yes. Only 32.7% of the parents said they are satisfied with their child’s remote learning experience.

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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