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PSS: No face-to-face instruction for selected students

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THE Public School System is temporarily suspending its plan to provide face-to-face instruction for selected students as PSS prepares for 100% remote learning when its schools reopen on Sept. 8.

PSS wanted to offer face-to-face instruction to students who need additional support, but on Aug. 24, the CNMI government reimposed restrictions on in-person interactions, social gatherings, and business hours following the identification of two Covid-19 cases through local transmission.

All public and private schools have been ordered to remain closed for in-person instruction and activities until further notice.

The government at the same time encourages schools to facilitate alternative modes of education, such as distance learning.

Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said PSS will start the new school year by distributing learning packets and, if needed, technology devices such as MiFi via drive-through in school parking lots.

The schools will also announce a pickup schedule to avoid crowding on school grounds, he added.

All school activities such as clubs that include groups of students are encouraged to “meet” online, he said.

For athletics and other physical activities that cannot be performed virtually, no or low-contact measures have to be in place, Ada said.

“They have to make sure that there is physical distancing and the three Ws — wash your hands, wear your mask and watch your distance from someone — are strictly observed and enforced.

“Bottom line, we have to protect our students and families, and I will not compromise that. Right now, we are safe and we don't have any Covid-19 on our campuses. Let’s keep it that way. I wouldn't take any risk,” Ada said.

“Remote learning is what we will offer at this point in time. Please, I plead for your understanding and cooperation. I, too, feel for the students, but we are in a pandemic and we should  be aware of our situation to ensure the safety of our community and our lives,” Ada added.

Throughout September, he added, PSS will also conduct parent and student orientation.

“Parent and student orientation must take place for remote teaching and learning to be successful,” Ada said, adding that schools will soon contact parents and students regarding the orientation, which may be held online.

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