Public schools to open within 2 weeks

THE Public School System will reopen some of its schools within two weeks, Board of the Education Chairwoman MaryLou S. Ada said.

Schools that sustained minor typhoon damage are ready to reopen, she added. 

“Tinian schools, Gregorio T. Camacho School and Tanapag Middle School are a possibility. Whatever school is ready to open, they will be opened,” she said, adding that the school system’s priority is to bring its 10,000 students back to school.

Ada was especially concerned with graduating senior high school students.

“Try to open the school as soon as possible, especially for the seniors,” she said during the Board of Education meeting on Thursday morning. “I was talking to some parents. They are concerned for their kids who are going to college. If they don’t get their diploma by the end of May or June, they may not be accepted to college. Let us make it a priority so our high school seniors can graduate as planned in this school year and not wait until September because they will miss one quarter of their school term.”

Ada said there will be double session in some schools and consolidation of students on other campuses.

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Also on Thursday, interim Education Commissioner Glenn Muna presented a report of the schools damaged by Typhoon Yutu.

At Garapan Elementary School four classrooms and the cafeteria were damaged while Oleai Elementary School lost 10 classrooms and its cafeteria.

Marianas High School lost 16 classrooms and its newly built gymnasium was damaged.

Da’ok Academy lost its entire building.

William S. Reyes Elementary School lost a total of 20 classrooms — four in Building F, seven in Building C and nine in Building I.

Muna said they believed that 95 percent of Hopwood Middle School was lost. “However, when [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] visited the school they said it is a total lost.”

Fancisco M. Sablan Middle School lost half of its classrooms — Building B (six rooms), Building E (two rooms) and the entire Building C.

At Koblerville Elementary School, Building E was damaged.

Saipan Southern High School and Dandan Middle School sustained minor damage.

San Vicente Elementary School’s Buildings A and B, and the bus shelter sustained minor damage.

The restroom at Tinian Elementary School lost its roof.

Muna presented three proposed action plans to resume classes.

The first plan is to hold double-session classes at William S. Reyes School, Oleai Elementary School, Koblerville Elementary School, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, San Vicente Elementary School, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School and Tanapag Middle School.

He said the plan involves the Board of Education suspending its policy mandating the number of instructional minutes per day. “Once we get that suspended, we will be able to do the double sessions.”

The first session will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. while the second session will run from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The second proposed plan is the temporary relocation of  Hopwood Middle School. Temporary buildings will be constructed in an area between Saipan Southern High School and Koblerville Elementary School.

“FEMA wanted to put the temporary structure over at Hopwood. But in many of the projects that we have done in the near shore area, we also find ancient burials sites.  We want to avoid further delays. Once they do find human remains, the project stops,” he said.

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For the temporary structure, Muna said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are considering an Alaskan model modular classroom. It is 24-foot wide and 40-foot long and can accommodate 30 children.

He said the temporary structure may take from three to four months to complete.

“The nice thing about this building is you can actually tear it down. We build and when we are done and when Hopwood is fixed, then we can bring it down and move those classrooms elsewhere where we need them.”

Muna said they were asking for 32 classrooms for Hopwood Middle School and 16 for Marianas High School.

The third proposed plan is the construction of temporary buildings.

As for Da’ok Academy, Muna said they will move its 45 students to the Distance Education Building at Tanapag Middle School.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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