Amidst the global coronavirus pandemic, the government of Palau has ordered the closure of all schools for two weeks starting March 23rd to April 6th.

During the two weeks of closure, teachers and school staff will conduct a thorough cleanup of their respective campuses. They will also ensure the adequate supply of soap and hand sanitizers before re-opening the campus again for students. Plans for covering missed lessons will also be discussed so students will not fall behind on their lessons. Students are advised to stay at home during the two-week time period.

The closure presents some challenges to the students, parents, and school staff. By closing the schools for two weeks causes a hindrance to the teacher’s already established lesson plans and most notably the graduation dates of students.

When asked about the reaction of the closure, Palau High School is still at the initial stages of their plans and nothing has been finalized. However, the staff are willing to go above and beyond for their students such as utilizing the internet to distribute assignments and to communicate with students. If necessary, they are also thinking about delivering assignments to students with the help of the Ministry of Education. They want to ensure that students will graduate on time.

Seventh-Day Adventist Elementary School and Palau Mission Academy are going to conduct their courses online. They acknowledge that it is not the same as learning face-to-face, but they do not want to be idle during the two weeks. They are also accommodating for students that have difficulties getting internet access which requires a student to notify the offices of their respective schools.

Koror Elementary School is thinking that they might extend the school for two weeks. They felt that this measure is appropriate for them because they want to accommodate their student demographic that might not have the same resources as other students. Vice Principal Rosalinda mentioned that it will not be there first time extending the school year, however, she said that they need to follow with what the Ministry of Education is telling them to do.

The Vice Principal mentioned that reactions towards the closure are mixed. Some were happy that the government are doing something about it and some students have been pulled out because of it. While other parents have expressed their concern over what their child will do during the two-week time period.

Once the schools re-open, the plan is to monitor the daily attendance of students, teachers, and school staff. Students will be encouraged to practice preventative measures such as promoting the use of soap and hand sanitizers as well as practicing proper respiratory etiquette like covering the mouth when coughing or coughing into a shirt.