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Alataua II Elementary School expected to reopen today after flooding & mudslides

Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Alataua II Elementary School is expected to reopen today, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, with students returning to their campus after it being closed due to flooding and mudslides. Students were attending school at Leone Midkiff Elementary School.

Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga explained that the territory experienced  torrential rain and flooding last week, and on Thursday, Oct. 16th, heavy rains turned streams into rivers, and this caused Alataua II campus to be flooded and inundated with mud, making it unsafe for students and teachers to use the campus.

“The students and teachers' safety was our priority, thereby closing the school until Public Works Department addressed the flooding problem at the school,” she said.

Dr. Matagi-Tofiga also explained that a meeting between ASDOE deputy director, Fa’aui Vaitautolu, Alataua school principal Nelda Uti and Leone Midkiff school principal Lamapu Suani called for Alataua II students to be bused and schooled at Leone Midkiff “until we address the unsafe conditions at Alataua II.”

An emergency Parents and Teacher Association (PTA) meeting was called by Uti to inform parents regarding the situation at the school, and that starting Monday, Oct 19th, students of Alataua II would be sent to Leone Midkiff, until the situation was mitigated.

On Monday this week, Dr. Matagi-Tofiga, along with Public Works director Faleosina Voigt, DPW engineer Falavai Ta’ase and the school PTA president conducted a site visit of the school.

As a result of that site visit, DPW was able to pinpoint the source of the problem. The work of clearing drainage blockage, and diversion of streams in the back of the school was to be done yesterday, and Alataua II is to be opened, and students and teachers back on their campus by today, Wednesday, Oct. 21st.

The AS-DOE director expressed her sincere gratitude to the parents of Alataua II for their support , and that together they will persevere through these most unusual events.