DOE will prioritize money for PPEs, other safety measures; school supplies, instruction interventions to catch up students will be secondary at this point
By Eric Rosario
Congressman Michael San Nicolas managed to secure more than $110 million in federal funding for the Guam Department of Education. The federal government is giving this money to states and territories to deal with the impact COVID-19 has had on kids learning to standards. To put it plainly, the federal government appropriated billions of dollars to school districts throughout the country to do what it takes to make sure this generation of Americans does not grow up dumb.
"These critical federal resources which comprise nearly 50% of the entire local appropriation for education will markedly improve our readiness for students, faculty, staff, and administrators to restart face-to-face learning and work to fill any gaps in virtual learning," stated Congressman San Nicolas. "It is a blessing to be able to be a part of ensuring the necessary resources are federally secured for Guam to keep our learning environments safe and effective for our children," Congressman San Nicolas concludes.
GDOE superintendent Jon Fernandez told Kandit News today his agency has been busy with reopening schools and preparing its fiscal year 2022 budget request to the Legislature.
"We will be looking to use the funds to continue supplying schools with PPEs and other supports needed for the eventual reopening of schools to more face to face instruction," Mr. Fernandez said. "I will be looking at facility upgrades needed for longer term compliance with health and safety requirements. We want to work with the governor to support school based health services going forward."
A common concern among parents is the loss of instructional time between children and their teachers, and the need for their kids to catch up. Kandit asked Mr. Fernandez whether DOE plans to use any of the federal dollars to provide supplies for these students to catch up, or to pay teachers the overtime costs needed to provide supports and interventions to students who need more instruction.
"Yes these are eligible uses and we will be discussing intervention strategies and supports as well," Mr. Fernandez said. "Health and safety are the number one concerns because we need to stabilize our school operations and not be opening and closing over and over. We will build around that then to work on improving the models of learning and assessing what students need to catch up."