Start of new school year postponed for another week
School year 2013-2014 for all incoming public school students has been postponed for another week. The new tentative start date is now Monday, August 26.
The new school year was initially set to begin last Monday, August 12 but inspections by the Department of Health uncovered unsanitary conditions in classrooms, bathrooms facilities, and cafeterias.
The schools that were cited and recommended by DoH to close down included two high schools Fagaitua High School and Nu’uuli Vocational Technical High School; while Elementary Schools consisted of Afonotele, Aua, Coleman (Pago Pago), Le’atele (Fagasa), Matafao ECE Program, Pava’ia’i, Siliaga (Aoloau) and Tautalatasi Tuato’o Alofau. Two private schools are on the list: Marist St Francis Elementary and Ta’iala Academy.
The issues they found with the schools included kitchens not being clean, with rodent and insect infestation in food storage areas and also where the food would be prepared.
A representative from the Governor's Office contacted Samoa News yesterday saying Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga led an inspection team that visited the local schools yesterday and things were still not up to par, hence, the delay in starting the new school year. "There are still some safety and health issues that need to be addressed," said the Governor's Office rep.
Currently, the governor's Adopt-a-School initiative has provided much needed cleaning and restoration work like new paint for different schools across the territory, thanks to efforts of local government departments and agencies which have each been assigned a school to work with.
“This effort should not fall only on the government, rather it should be a community project given that these are our children using these facilities,” said DOE Director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau in an earlier interview with the Samoa News.
According to a DoH report, among other things, there should be a "long term outlook on building permit regulations and include Public Health input for sanitation standards." Additionally, "Every school must have a security fence or retaining wall. Fumigation must occur annually and all cooking areas should be equipped with exhaust vents. The Fire Department also needs to be more involved in training school staff, and EPA and ASPA need to monitor water, sewage and disposal on school premises."
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