Gov declares State of Emergency for schools
Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has declared a State of Emergency with the public schools, after discovering that many of the schools are unfit for 100% occupancy due to public health issues including chronic flooding, inadequate water supply, non-functional restroom facilities and other unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
The proclamation was issued yesterday wherein Lolo appointed Tuimavave Tauapa’i Laupola as the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR) for the duration of the State of Emergency.
On Tuesday, at a briefing with (PTA) parent teacher associations, teachers, DOE officials and health officials on the status of the Department of Health’s ongoing school inspections, the governor said the government isn’t ready to start the new school year.
These inspections initiated by the DOH led to the delay of the new school year for two weeks thus far, with the start of the new school year now slated for Monday, August 26, 2013.
According to the proclamation issued yesterday morning, the governor noted since August 5, 2013, when DOH started inspecting all territorial schools to determine their suitability for accommodating the return of students for the 2013-2014 academic school year, it was found that many of the schools are unfit to open, with conditions that threaten the health, safety and welfare of students, teachers and administrators.
“As a result of the foregoing, the beginning of the academic school year has now been twice delayed in order to remedy the issues identified by the Department of Health.”
The proclamation further stated it's incumbent upon the government to complete the necessary work to place the schools in a condition which will satisfy the concerns raised by the DOH in a timely manner, so the school year can get underway.
The governor stated that declaring a State of Emergency in the schools will enable them to address collectively the resources of the government, with the Governor’s Office as the lead agency.
He further noted that in view of the threat to public health and welfare Chief Procurement Officer, Tiaotalga John Kruse is authorized to to make emergency purchases in accordance with local statute.
“An emergency procurement must be as competitive as practicable under the circumstances and a written determination of the basis for the emergency and for the selection of the particular contractor must be be included in the contract file.” The governor stated the effective date for this State of Emergency is August 5, 2013 and it will remain in place for a period not to exceed 30 days, unless extended.
As previously reported, the issues DOH found with the schools included unsanitary kitchens, with rodent & insect infestation found in food storage and preparation areas.
Governor Lolo noted during the presentation prepared by the DOH Director on Tuesday that the scenes at the schools were disgusting.
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