ALL schools in the Western Division and maritime zones will open as normal today. This was the word from Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki.
Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Cdr Cawaki reassured parents that facilities would be in place at all schools to ensure that classes would begin as normal.
"The only difference is that in some schools tents have been erected for use as temporary classrooms while repairs on infrastructure continues. However, it is very important to note that this will not affect classes in any way, shape or form," he said.
Divisional education officer west Lorima Voravora revealed that tents were being erected at Gandhi Bhawan Primary, Lautoka Ahmadiya Primary and Jasper Williams High in Lautoka, Raviravi Sangam, Nakoroboya Primary, AKP Primary and Tavarau Primary in Ba.
Sabeto Central, Nakauvadra High and Namamanuca Primary would also use temporary shelters as classrooms. A total of 209 schools were affected when Tropical Cyclone Evan tore through the Northern and Western divisions in a 12-hour rampage on December 17 last year. Of these 173 were primary schools and 36 were secondary institutions.
Jasper Williams Primary and High schools in Lautoka racked up a total repair bill of $606,099. This was followed by Raviravi Sangam with $210,222, Tavarau Primary with $157,185 and Lautoka Ahmadiya Primary with $139,000 in repair costs. Department of Works engineers have been working round-the-clock immediately after Evan had passed to conduct assessments and repairs.
Divisional Engineer Western Puamau Usawale said during assessments on cyclone-affected schools the department discovered that in some cases substandard material was used and in others poor workmanship resulted in damage to buildings.