Ed board approves options for next school year: home learning and in the classroom

WAITING FOR THE BUS: Inarajan Middle School students hang out under a tree waiting for the bus in Yona for the first day of class on Aug. 13, 2019. Post file photo.

The COVID-19 pandemic has mandated some creative thinking in order to adapt to the new normal, that is, everyday life in light of social distancing requirements and other safety precautions.  

To that extent, the Guam Department of Education and Guam Education Board are granting parents and students the ability to chose from three instructional models next school year - home learning with online instruction, home learning with hard copies for families without the equipment to support online work, and traditional face to face classrooms under an alternating schedule. 

This third option places students into three equally sized cohorts, so that a third of the students would attend classes on any given school day. Efforts will be made to align schedules for siblings in multiple schools and when students are not on campus, they will have assignments or projects to submit upon return. Students would not have classes on Fridays under this model as it is designated a student intervention and parent support day. 

"Our entire distance learning plan focused on safety first and that's why we have the different groups," said Joe Sanchez, the GDOE deputy superintendent overseeing curriculum and instruction. "In an ideal world, some of these strategies would not be separate strategies. For example, the online learning, that would be supplemental to face to face instruction ... The idea of these three models being separate is only happening now because of the need to social distance." 

The education board also waived its uniform policy next school year, as well as policies that define instructional time, attendance, textbook adoption and require service learning, in light of the different instructional models and COVID-19.  

The target date for the new school year is Aug. 11. 

Parents and guardians are asked to submit the GDOE Model of Learning Registration Form by July 10, 2020 to select the type of instruction their child will participate in this year, according to a GDOE press release.

"Children of parents who do not complete the form will be automatically enrolled in the traditional face-to-face model. Parents/guardians are asked to contact their child’s school for information on how to complete and submit the model of learning registration form," the release stated.  

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