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PSS survey: Most parents believe students are at risk in school  

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THE Public School System’s reopening survey shows that most parents will not send their children to school because they believe there is still a considerable risk of Covid-19 infection.

In the virtual meeting organized by the Parents Advisory Committee on Saturday, Public School System-Instructional Technology and Distance Education Director Bobby Cruz presented the findings of the survey, which gathered a total of 1,568 responses, 1,174 from parents, 364 from teachers, and 34 from school administrators.

Cruz said the survey results will help PSS make informed decisions in determining how the school system is going to “move into different modes of instructions.”

For his part, Education Commissioner Alfred B. Ada said the survey results will guide PSS as it implements its hybrid and remote learning systems.

Parents Advisory Committee president Arley Long said PSS is doing a great job as she thanked the principals and teachers “who have championed the new era of constant change, who have tirelessly trained [and] adapted to…new knowledge, skills and use of resources to the best of their ability to deliver their curriculum to our children.”

It is not perfect, she added, considering the challenge everyone is facing amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover,  remote learning has been difficult if not to all, but to most families in the CNMI and the rest of the world, she said.

Parents

Of the 1,175 parents who participated in the survey, 36.3% said they will not send their children to school because the parents believe there is still considerable risk; 28.4% said they will return their children to school when they are able to because they believe the risk will be managed accordingly; 16.9% said they have no choice but to return their children to school due to their work; and 6.2% said they have no choice but to return their children to school due to their work as they believe the risk will be managed accordingly.

Asked how comfortable they are about their children going back to school, 41.7% said they are uncomfortable while 26.1% said they are comfortable. But 32.2% responded “neutral,” which Cruz said could mean that these parents  will be fine with either mode of instruction.

Assuming that all safety measures are in place, 37.6% of the 1,185 parents prefer online instruction; 27.8% hybrid; and 31.4% in-person classes.

Asked if their children can access  Blackboard Classroom or log on to live sessions, 94.7% said yes. But only 32.7% of the parents said they are satisfied with their child’s remote learning experience.

PSS also asked the parents about their children’s experience with online class. Some answered “overwhelming” while others said, “challenging.” Other parents said, “It’s difficult to help them all at once. The network is also making it worse because all of them are in their classes at once.”

One parent said, “My older child is able to access all classes given. However my younger one is in the special education and it is difficult for him to participate in class sessions.”

Another parent said, “My daughter is enjoying her online school and getting the hang of it. I know she would like to experience going to school and being in her actual classroom with her teacher.”

One parent said, “They can manage and they are adapting to the new learning environment pretty well.”

From another parent, “They all love the comfort and convenience of learning from home. It helps to ease their anxieties of having to be in public spaces.”

Teachers

Of the 362 teachers who participated in the survey, 51.9% prefer to not teach in person at this time because they believe there is still considerable risk; 39.8% support face-to-face classes because they believe the risk is minimal and will be managed; and 8.3% expressed no opinion.

On  face-to-face instruction, 40.9% of the 362 teachers are uncomfortable with it; 28.8% are comfortable; and 32.3% are neutral about it.

Regarding the mode of instruction, 36.7% said they prefer online; 28.8%, in-person; and 30%, hybrid.

The top challenges teachers said they are facing include involving and keeping students motivated and engaged; communicating with students and parents; access to technology or internet connection; student absenteeism; increased workload; and stress working from home.

Asked to share their experience in teaching remotely, a teacher said: “Some students strive during online learning. Others are not as fortunate because parents are unable to provide behavioral supports needed to keep their children engaged. Also, teachers experience more difficulty creating modified work and accommodating their students in their online classrooms.”

Another teacher shared that “students are experiencing a new approach to learning. However, those with limited or no access to the internet are struggling to keep in contact through online learning They feel left out or not able to keep up with their classmates….”

Private schools have been conducting face-to-face and online classes since September after implementing government-required safety measures.

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