Hagåtña, Guam – During their quarterly meeting on September 23, 2021, the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) presented findings from their student survey to Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio. From September 12 to September 15, the advisory group surveyed over 1,350 students on suspending in-person schooling and activities. The survey results reaffirm the recommendations made by the YAC in their recommendation letter sent to the Governor on September 9, 2021, regarding the safe reopening of schools.
Survey findings included:
- 95.2% of students shared some level of concern about the spread of COVID-19 with in-person learning compared to the 4.8% who expressed not at all concerned
- 87.1% of students preferred face-to-face learning compared to 12.9% who preferred online learning
- 86.6% of students expressed willingness to get vaccinated to attend in-person learning compared to the 13.4% who expressed unwillingness
- For those who expressed unwillingness to get vaccinated to attend school, 58.4% expressed willingness to get tested weekly, compared to the 41.6% who declined
- 83.5% expressed concerns about their mental and social health being affected by online learning compared to the 16.5% who expressed it would have no effect
- 78.5% expressed that upperclassmen should be given priority for in-person learning compared to 21.5% who disagreed
- 62.7% did not disagree with Governor Leon Guerrero’s decision to suspend in-person learning
- For those who disagreed, the main concern expressed was the difficulty of online learning compared to in-person instruction.
In addition to survey findings, students also provided suggestions on how to resume in-person learning safely. Suggestions included:
- Requiring vaccinations or weekly testing
- Alternating days for high school students (Day A: Juniors and Seniors and Day B: Freshmen and Sophomores)
- Alternating lunch periods
“When Josh and I created the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council, we did so to ensure that we heard their voices on youth-centric issues,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “No one is disputing the value of face-to-face learning compared to online instruction, myself included, and I wholeheartedly agree that we should have our children in school as long as we can do so safely. Josh and I were so impressed by our students who asked questions relative to their feelings on safety, the spread of the virus, and the long-term impacts that remote learning may have on their overall health and development. We applaud our Youth Advisory Council for engaging their peers and ensuring their voices are heard in the ongoing conversation about how to keep our schools open and keep our students safe.”
“The only other time in our recent history in which our students were out of school for this long was World War II, and we recognize it will take a community approach to ensure our schools remain a safe space for our students, our staff, and their families whom they come home to,” said Lt. Governor Tenorio. “Governor Leon Guerrero and I appreciate the efforts by our Youth Advisory Council, who, despite the limitations posed by the ongoing pandemic, were able to successfully execute a comprehensive survey and report out their findings. As evidenced by this survey, most students support the return to in-person learning and recognize the importance to their mental and social well-being.”
“We understand that the health and safety of everyone are most important and that the suspension of in-person learning was a hard decision, which is why we conducted this survey. After analyzing the survey data, we found that a number of students were understanding of the Governor’s effort to ensure a safe learning environment,” said Governor’s Youth Advisory Council Chairperson Cheyunne Ahn, a junior at Southern High School. “Shortly after the suspension of in-person learning, the Council met to discuss how we could reopen schools safely and sent our recommendations to Governor Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Tenorio. We’re glad that many of our recommendations were considered with the Governor’s Executive Order authorizing the schools to reopen when they felt ready.”
The Governor’s Youth Advisory Council was established through Executive Order 2020-02. For more information, email Cheyunne Ahn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the Youth Advisory Council Presentation, click here.
To view the Youth Advisory Council school opening recommendations, click here.