Public schools slow to start

Despite Health authorities giving the okay for in-person classes to start September 19, public schools have remained out of school using “learning packets” handed out once a week. Pictured, right, are MIHS teachers Charlie and Charlet Donato giving out packets to students in the Lukon weto area of Majuro on September 26. Photo: Wilmer Joel.

Despite Health authorities giving schools the “all-clear” to resume classes September 18, the Public School System had not as of Wednesday this week confirmed a date for its schools to open their doors for the current school year.

Marshall Islands High School issued a notice this week that it will begin a phased return to school next week.

Both Laura High School and Laura Elementary school principals told the Journal this week that they were aiming for opening their schools the second week of October. But in the case of LES, school management said this second-week-of-October target was awaiting approval from PSS headquarters.

Meanwhile, Rita Elementary School was the only public school to resume in-person classes when students went back to school Monday September 19. But PSS directed RES to halt in-person classes the next day, and so RES has since been following the PSS “learning packet” system for students picking up school work.

Ministry of Health and Human Services authorities on September 18 approved all schools to resume in-person teaching. All private schools returned to class the week of September 19. In fact, the College of the Marshall Islands was the first to move to in-person classes when it started its new semester the end of August.

Dr. Frank Underwood, the director of Public Health, pointed out that there is no requirement to wear masks in schools. He said that face masks need to be used only if a person has flu-like symptoms. This mandate was put into practice by the private schools starting last week.

Majuro hospital has also fully reopened with the only restriction being hand sanitizing and masks, and the usual out-patient and other clinics have resumed service.
MIHS’ plan, announced Tuesday this week, is for pre-ninth students to attend school on Monday October 3. Tuesday is designated for ninth graders, Wednesday for 10th, Thursday for 11th, and Friday for 12th.

The MIHS announcement did not indicate if all classes would resume as normal from October 10.

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