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  • By Bruce Lloyd

Government of Guam more worried about getting 30,000 students safely back to school than fading Nort

As the overheated rhetoric of the past week failed to set off any apparent North Korean attack, Guam officials are focused on more mundane concerns, such as the long scheduled reopening of public schools on Thursday.

Jon Fernandez, Guam Superintendant of Education

Guam Superintendant of Education Jon Fernandez assured parents that all available precautions are being taken.

"Throughout the year we remain prepared for any type of emergency and that is the message we've given to our parents. Rest assured that we go through numerous drills and practices of our emergency procedures, so when they come to school and trust that their faculty and administrators are well trained in how to handle any kind of incident. So we look forward to our parents showing up and we have information that we'll be giving them and we look forward to a very successful first day."

Fernandez emphasized that not only are the drills part of normal school procedures.

Meanwhile, reporters from both on Guam and on island were wondering about the impact of next week's Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises, a joint operation between the U.S. and South Korea, that occurs annually and predictably produces fiery rhetoric from North Korea.

As to the question of whether the exercise might bring a response beyond words from North Korea, Homeland Security Advisor to Governor Calvo George Charfauros conceded that this was far above his pay grade.

"North Korea always sees that as a provocation, a provocative measure. To not conduct that drill is beyond my level. Once again, I'm always hopeful that diplomacy wins the day and the decision to continue with that exercise may or may not be seen by North Korea as provocative. But like I said, Secretary (of State Rex) Tillerson is opening up the dialogue with North Korea... Our next big hurdle is getting the schools open tomorrow and keeping tourists coming."

George Charfauros


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