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PSS considers hybrid instruction for new school year

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IF community vulnerability remains at Level Blue, the Public School System will mix virtual learning with in-class instruction in the next school year, which will start on Aug. 31.

PSS has different plans for each community vulnerability level, and all require the approval of  the Board of Education before any of them can be implemented, associate commissioner for student and support services Dr. Yvonne Pangelinan said.

During a BOE instructional services and assessment meeting on Friday, Pangelinan said with the hybrid style of instruction, there will be a certain number of students who will be on campus while others will receive instruction through remote learning.

It will be the same for teachers and instructors, she said; some  will teach on site while others will teach online.

Pangelinan said school principals will help the PSS management team determine who among the students and teachers will be on site or online.

“Some of the factors to consider: who is at risk, who has pre-existing conditions, who refuses [to be on campus],” Pangelinan said, adding: “There’s a lot of apprehension in our community and there are going to be families and PSS staff that may not want to be on site because of their concerns. We need to provide them alternatives.”

Under Level Blue, PSS is also considering a partial reopening of schools with students “coming in staggered cohorts.”

If the community vulnerability level becomes Green, Pangelinan said the entire student population, faculty and staff members can return to their schools.

Covid-19 Task Force Chairman Warren Villagomez recently visited Kagman Elementary School with PSS officials to discuss the classroom setup  in a pandemic situation.

They discussed the size of the classroom and how many students  can be accommodated safely.

Schools must also have isolation or waiting rooms for students or staff members who may present symptoms. Moreover, students and teachers will still be required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

Pangelinan said the hybrid system and partial reopening of schools will take effect on Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

“There is still a threat of a resurgence of [Covid-19] cases, so we need to put every precaution in place. We are going to go hybrid until we are absolutely sure that every child, every staff member, every teacher is safe,” Pangelinan added.

BOE member Philip Mendiola-Long of Tinian, for his part, told the PSS team:  “Tinian does not have 30 or 40 kids in a classroom…. When we draw up these plans, please do consider Tinian and Rota and try to give them as much latitude to get back to normal as possible especially when we are comparing what a staggered schedule looks like on Saipan versus what it would look like on Tinian and Rota.”

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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