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  • By Bruce Lloyd and Mar-Vic Cagurangan

30,000 students back in classrooms; Fernandez says school system prepared for any type of disaster

After days of assuring international news media that all is well on Guam and that island residents are not paralyzed by fear of imminent North Korean nuclear missile attack, the latest sign of normalcy on Guam cited by Governor Eddie Baza Calvo was the Thursday reopening of public schools to 30,000 students in 41 public schools.

For Agana Heights Elementary School. it was likely the first time that reporters from all over Asia, China, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore ever covered this humble and low key event.

On the school campus and offering further assurances of normality was Governor Calvo, escorting his grandson to his first day of first grade.

In a later interview, Governor Calvo urged the correspondents who have been earnestly seeking but not finding a big story, to enjoy the rest of their stay on Guam.

In Tamuning, Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez welcomed students at John F Kennedy High School, expressing confidence that school administrators and students are well prepared to deal with any emergency situation.

While tension between the United States and North Korea simmered down this week, Fernandez said it is imperative to be on alert at all times for any possible disasters.

“Schools face so many types of potential situations, whether it be foodborne illnesses or bomb threats— real or hoax— or weather situations,” he said.

“It’s a matter of alerting students to a particular alert on any incident anywhere,” Fernandez said.

Drills are part of day-to-day operations in the school system, he said.

“The latest issue with the North Korea merely brought us on alert to any type of threats or disasters. If there is a need to evacuate, we have proper procedures in place and shelters in pace. We are well practiced and our buildings are made of concrete; they are solid,” Fernandez said.

Not surprisingly, Superintendent Fernandez got further international media attention at the opening of Guam's John F. Kennedy High School


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