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Students at Defense Department schools on Guam will return to classrooms on Oct. 26

Local military leaders participate in a COVID-19 tabletop exercise with Department of Defense Education Activity at William C. McCool Elementary and Middle School, Oct. 1, 2020.

MACADAM KANE WEISSMAN/U.S. NAVY

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 15, 2020

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Defense Department schools on Guam on Oct. 26 will become the last in the Pacific to resume classroom sessions, according to a statement released Thursday by district officials.

Military bases on Guam have lowered the risk level for coronavirus transmission to moderate, a requisite set by the Department of Defense Education Activity for permitting students to return to classrooms.

“Our installations in Guam recently announced a shift to Health Protection Condition Bravo and we have begun the process of transitioning to the brick-and-mortar learning environment,” said Gail Wiley, DODEA Guam community superintendent in the statement.

Remote learning, underway since schools opened for the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 24, will continue through Thursday, the statement said.

Teachers will be training and preparing their classrooms Tuesday through Thursday, so no instruction will take place those days. However, students will receive asynchronous assignments. Oct. 23 is a teacher workday.

To reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, commanders at individual bases “may reduce student ridership on buses with full capacity,” according to DODEA. It left further details to those commanders.

Families will get a letter from their children’s principals on Friday with more information regarding the brick-and-mortar setting. DODEA Guam will hold a Facebook Live session at 5:30 p.m. Monday to answer questions.

Mitigation strategies will be implemented, the statement said, to include wearing of masks, social distancing, physical barriers in cafeterias and classrooms and cleaning and sanitizing of frequently touched surfaces.

“Our DODEA schools will continue to work in close coordination with military and public health officials to support the safe and healthy return to brick-and-mortar schools,” the statement said.

ornauer.dave@stripes.com
Twitter: @DaveOrnauer