Over 500 teachers return to work

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The Public School System has lifted the furlough for the first batch of teachers in preparation for the upcoming school year, which is set to begin on Sept. 8.

During a press conference last Tuesday, Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said PSS has already recalled over 500 furloughed teachers.

The next batch of teachers, over 200, are still waiting on the PSS administration’s signal lifting the furlough on them.

The teachers who were lifted from furlough status are currently undergoing training for remote learning.

In July, PSS lifted the furlough for registrars because PSS needed them to begin the process for opening up the schools.

A week ago, Ada said, PSS also lifted furlough for its maintenance and janitorial staff members. Ada explained that PSS needed them to start cleaning the campuses and to ensure that all public schools are ready by September.

Ada said that PSS’ ultimate goal is to bring all its employees back to work. “Everyone is needed at schools. We do need our truant officers. We do need our teacher aides. They will be informed of the date that they have to come back to report for work,” he said.

Back in April, PSS furloughed over 700 employees, including locally funded teachers and support staff members, following a steep decline in CNMI government revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then PSS has received $23.1 million in Education Stabilization Funds through the federal CARES Act, which they used to bring their employees back before the upcoming school year.

Additionally, Ada said once the new school year begins, it will start off with completely remote learning as principals later determine who will undergo face-to-face instruction.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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