• By Johanna Salinas

Despite spike in Covid cases, schools to reopen as scheduled

Despite the spike in the number of young people testing positive for Covid-19, the Guam Department of Education is still pushing forward with the opening of schools on Aug. 17.

“Right now, we’re following the superintendent’s recommendation and his plan,” Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio said at Friday’s press conference.

He noted that some jurisdictions, where lawsuits are looming, have made decisions that forced schools to open with face-to-face instruction.

“Here from the get go, the option is to give parents the opportunity to have online learning for their children and for the decision making to be part of that based on the situation of their individual households and their capacity of their children,” Tenorio said.

At Father Dueñas Memorial School, the Archdiocese of Agana said it continues its communication with the Department of Public Health and Social Service regarding an investigation into a Covid-19 positive case at the school.

FDMS remains closed and students will continue attending classes remotely.

"The Archdiocese will make sure to update parents, families and everyone in the FDMS school community as further guidance is provided by Public Health. The safety of students and all members is of the highest priority," the archdiocese said in a statement.

Public Heath Director Art San Agustin said his department is collaborating with GDOE and the private schools on school year reopening.

“We partner depending on the case. We still go to the protocol as we would any disease,” San Agustin said. “We will contact investigation and contact tracing. We’ll definitely be there at the first opportunity.”

San Agustin added that the government is using the same protocols that apply to other public health crises such as tuberculosis.

Dr. Janna Manglona, DPHSS medical director, said addressing the current crisis requires the community’s cooperation.

“In any pandemic, there are things the government can do and there are things the community can do,” she said.

“At the end of the day, the frontline comes by the community. The community is the one that controls this. In all the contact tracing, we’ve had little-to-no- transmission when people wore their masks and socially distance,” Manglona said.

Following the government’s directives, she added, is key to controlling the crisis.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said Guam’s current 14 percent testing rate is not so bad. “We’re way ahead then most of the states,” she said. “We can’t test 100 percent, but we can test as much as our community which I said we’re going to do and we are doing.”

Tenorio urges the people of Guam to work together to defeat the virus. “I think right now what we’re seeing is good numbers, generally speaking,” he said.

“Up until this week, most of the cases we’re coming in from quarantine. I think it has made everybody feel a bit more lacks. That’s a false sense of security because we have active cases on island. I ask everybody, all of us individually and collectively to reconsider what we do, really try and prevent the spread in being safe in all our interactions, including within our families.”

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