GDOE still completing repair, maintenance projects at schools | News

The Guam Department of Education had a number of maintenance projects they said would be addressed over the Christmas break, but now that kids are back in school, there’s still work to be done.

Approximately $600,000 in federal funding was provided to GDOE to make basic repairs at the 41 public school sites.

The repairs included basic mechanical, electrical, plumbing, painting and other work that did not require the assistance of licensed, skilled labor.

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“These funds should help schools with repairs, not just over the break, but also over the next several weeks, as the amount provided will take time to exhaust. Additional supports are planned for schools in the coming weeks and months as part of our investment of federal funds,” GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said.

In addition to this, the public school system is also addressing air conditioning issues as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought concerns over air quality in classrooms.

“Presently, around 500 air conditioning units are in need of repair. Our facilities and maintenance team is working diligently to address work-order requests from our schools. Mrs. Yolanda Duenas works with our vendor, JRN Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, to schedule all preventive maintenance, minor issues, and replacements for our air conditioning units,” Fernandez said.

Air conditioning units must be addressed in anticipation of HEPA filters being placed in every classroom. As its stands, the procurement of these filters remains under protest.

Over the Christmas break, GDOE was able to beef up health and safety protections in common areas like the cafeteria – where face mask use is compromised.

“To date, all plexiglass dividers and shields have been delivered and installed for all teachers and students, and the delivery of tables and chairs to all schools is completed. The delivery of canopies to GDOE schools is ongoing,” Fernandez said.

Future projects

GDOE is also looking toward the future with capital improvement projects aimed at keeping students dry and covered in common areas.

“The CIP staff has met with each school administrator or administrative team to assess any repairs or replacements needs, as well as to identify new canopy needs. The next step is to prepare these projects for formal bidding which is a long-term process in itself. At this time, our facilities and maintenance team will address any major canopy issues that impede the safety of students, employees, parents and guests,” Fernandez said.

Although funding is limited from the Department of the Interior for the canopy projects, he said, the CIP staff will be adding funding from the Education Stabilization Fund and American Rescue Plan to address these repairs.