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Public schools closed this week — 58% are without power or water

Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga [SN file photo]

All public schools in American Samoa will be closed this week after Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga issued a closure call yesterday, while full assessment of damage caused by Tropical Storm Gita gets underway this morning.

Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga says schools will be closed for the entire week as “safety of our students is the priority.”

She says “closure will allow major clean-up of school campuses — removal of large trees that have fallen on most school campuses; debris litters school grounds; utility wires on some of our campuses; water has made its way into our classrooms and offices; 58% of the schools have no power, 58% of the schools have no water including our schools in Manu’a.”

All teachers and school administrators are asked to report to their respective schools and await further instruction from their divisions. All other ASDOE personnel report to their respective divisions and Assistant Directors and Deputy Director will brief them on the rest of the week’s schedule.

A meeting for all school principals at the ASDOE conference room in Utulei is scheduled at 10a.m. today.

Also at daybreak today, the government’s damage assessment teams will conduct an assessment of disaster-related damages for individual loss and public infrastructure.

The outcome of these assessments will determine which individuals qualify for US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance (IA) or Public Assistance (PA) Programs.

Individual Assistance (IA) teams will assess disaster-related damages for individuals including homes and other personal property losses. Public Assessment (PA) teams will assess disaster-related damages of government and non-profit public facilities and infrastructure.

Assessment, which runs through Friday, is being conducted for all islands.