Resumption of face-to-face classes in the works at PSS

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Posted on Sep 08 2020

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From left, Marianas High School vice principal Melanie Rdiall, Marianas High School teacher John Darag, and MHS interim principal Christine Tudela pose for a photo after a tour of what the MHS model classroom looks, which all classrooms will soon follow for the resumption of face-to-face classes. (JUSTINE NAUTA)

New directives come with new orders and, according to the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez, one of the orders under the new directives is that schools will be able to reopen for face-to-face classes.

Villagomez stated in last Friday’s radio news briefing that Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña has rounded up a team to work with the Public School System, as well as other schools, on reopening schools for face-to-face classes.

Villagomez said that they want to work with PSS to get the schools “back to normalcy.”

Marianas High School English Language Arts teacher John Darag says the challenging thing he faces is migrating his classes online. He believes, though, that if he can incorporate the same strategies he has been doing to his online classes, then it will be “doable.”

Darag said that he wants to be sure to build trust in his students that they can navigate online classes until they resume face-to-face classes. “It’s important that once they log into the online platform, you’re there to assist them, you’re there to kind of help them navigate. …We can’t teach everything until they’re comfortable being online. I think a lot of it is nurturing them first, [and, kind of guiding them in the process,” said Darag.

One of the many strategies Darag has planned for remote learning is giving his students opportunities to engage with, such as online games, collaborative sessions online, and making things electronically in order to get them used to the platform.

Darag says that one of the difficult things he will have to tackle this year is students who have limited technology and one thing he will miss is the physical interactions he has with his students, and the student-teacher relationship when you get to know them.

“The challenge is getting that same intensity when you see them in an online platform. It’s going to be very difficult, we have a lot of things that we will not be able to do,” said Darag.

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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