NMTI passes first inspection, will be inspected again on Tuesday

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THE Northern Marianas Technical Institute is still waiting for the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force second inspection and approval before it can reopen.

The task force inspected the facility last week “and we passed,” NMTI Chief Executive Officer Agnes McPhetres  informed the board of trustees during a special meeting on Thursday.

The second inspection is set for Tuesday.

NMTI director for administration Frank Rabauliman and Da’ok Academy principal Jonathan Aguon have drawn up a mitigation plan for Covid-19 safety measures, McPhetres said.

Da’ok Academy conducted classes at NMTI  after Super Typhoon Yutu destroyed the academy building  on the campus of Marianas High School in October 2018.

For face-to-face instruction, Rabauliman said NMTI will require students, instructors and other staff to wear face masks. In addition, there will be temperature checks and  social distancing will be observed, he said.

NMTI has also ordered 14 air purifiers with ultraviolet light.

“These are going to be installed on the ceiling across the air-conditioning units so the air that comes out of the A/C is already treated,” Rabauliman said.

Moreover, NMTI  purchased a “germicidal device, which produces ultraviolet radiation to disinfect areas and surfaces,” he said.


The NMTI board of trustees met on Thursday at the NMTI building in Lower Base. In photo are NMTI chief executive officer Agnes McPhetres,  director for administration and finance Frank Rabauliman, trustees Carmelita Faisao, Rick Kautz, board chairman Mario Valentin, and trustees Irene Holl and Catherine Attao. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

“The maintenance folks are going to bring it into classrooms. Nobody is allowed to be in there while it is turned on. You put it in a center [of the room], turn it on and it can shoot up within a 20-foot radius. The treatment is 99.9% [effective]. It will be done after the class,” Rabauliman said.

NMTI will also provide visors  to its instructors, he added.

All these purchases were funded by Education Tax Credit donations.

Rabauliman hopes that NMTI  will get a passing mark so it can reopen on Oct. 5 for Da’ok Academy students.

As for reopening the trade school to its students, the trustees will  continue the discussion next week.

Still on furlough

McPhetres said all 23 NMTI employees are still on furlough, but three have volunteered to clean up the facility.

The employees have been on furlough since April.

McPhetres said a lot of students, both of Da’ok Academy and NMTI, are inquiring about the reopening of the trade school, which was shut down amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The students [from NMTI] have been registered since January,” she added. “We just completed the module back then and we still owe them to complete that level.”

She added most students need to complete three to five modules.

NMTI is also not registering students  because it is still waiting for the CW-1 funds from the CNMI Department of Labor.

“It is like chicken and egg right now,” McPhetres said. CNMI DOL cannot disburse the money unless NMTI has students. “But I cannot have students if we don’t have people here,” McPhetres said, referring to the employees who are still on furlough.

“We get phone calls after phone calls from students asking when we are going to open. I said it depends if we have money or not.”

McPhetres said up to 300 students will register if NMTI reopens.


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