Guam’s Department of Education began calling parents on Monday, the first day schools were closed again due to the pandemic – to determine which students need laptops and assistance with Internet services so that they can attend online courses.
“We’re not looking at the full 28,000. In our previous survey, probably a third of them already have devices they want to use. A number of students or families have indicated that they would just use their phones instead of borrowing a laptop, ”said Joseph Sanchez, assistant superintendent of program and education.
GDOE has a week to prepare students for distance education, which is expected to start next week on September 7th.
The governor closed schools last Friday, signing Executive Order 2021-21 in response to the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases.
Sanchez said GDOE has nearly 30,000 laptops and is ready to distribute laptops to at least half of the department’s student body right now.
Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school for laptops.
Community learning centers to reopen
GDOE noted that all wifi devices from the IT&E provider have been distributed. To help these students, GDOE decided to open schools and community learning centers for student internet access.
Parents must register to access these sites and schedule one hour to use the services. GDOE sets up a schedule to avoid being inundated by students at the sites.
Sanchez said elementary school students should have a parent or guardian present at the sites during use, while middle school and high school students can attend on their own.
Question of attendance
Although September 7 marks the start of e-learning for all GDOE students, the GDOE does not expect 100% student participation.
“There will be a substantial number of students who will get used to connecting to the Internet, buying their laptops and accessing a center. We believe student attendance will improve from the 7th, ”Sanchez said.
During the mandatory suspension of face-to-face learning, the GDOE indicated that student absences did not negatively count on attendance.
This can be received by some parents with relief. Many parents were not sending their children to school because the number of COVID-19 increased and parents feared the transmission of COVID-19 in schools. Some parents have said that with the increase in the number of COVID-19, they should not be penalized for protecting the health of their children.
Assistant superintendent of operations Erika Cruz reported on Friday that around 1,000 students were engaged with absenteeism issues.
When the temporary online classes start on September 7, students will stay in the same classes as the in-person classes, but schedules may differ slightly.
The schedule adjustment will focus on active screen time with teachers, independent learning and additional interventions needed for students, Sanchez said.
The transition online will remain in effect until the governor reopens the schools. The governor has not yet indicated what thresholds must be met to resume face-to-face teaching.