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‘Schools’ reopening depends on COVID-19 status’

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The Public School System is currently working on all possible scenarios for the opening of the new school year, with a tentative reopening date as PSS awaits guidance from the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said in an interview that the September reopening is tentative and they are still waiting for word from the task force and approval of the Board of Education.

“Most of this is dependent on board approval. Right now, with all the directives, we’re [also] keeping an eye on the COVID-19 [situation]. I need permission from the governor and the task force regarding the opening of schools. The situation is constantly changing and we need to work with the government regarding COVID-19. We will adjust everything based on guidance from the task force,” he said.

In the meantime, Ada said PSS is preparing for all possible scenarios and looking at all options. “We need to account for all possible scenarios. This includes the possibility of full reopening of the schools, with physical contact. Option 1 is to return to normal with total reopening of schools. Option 2 is partial reopening. Option 3 is remote learning and, under remote learning, Subsection A is fully online. Under remote learning Subsection B is blended learning,” he said.

Ada clarified that the transition to 100% remote learning is still just one possibility. “We are finding out that not all of our community is ready for remote learning. We’re trying to but, under partial opening, we will have small groups. We will be prepared for all the scenarios so that we can adjust based on the data we have,” he said.

Ada said PSS will try every option once schools reopen to determine which is more efficient in light of the current pandemic. “We will try each option and we will account for quality learning as well as safety of students and staff,” he said.

Kimberly B. Esmores | 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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