MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Last week's appearance of rats at Westlake Middle School was not the first time the school has dealt with a rat problem.
During the 2014-2015 school year, rats were spotted in the district, which was blamed on renovation work at EF Academy. The Department of Health visited the district on three occasions to investigate the rodent complaints and did not find an infestation, according to Superintendent of Schools Susan Guiney. Traps were set to take care of the problem.
There was concern about rats in the wrestling room as wrestlers were coming down with rashes. Guiney said Westlake Athletic Director Donna Pirro investigated and the rashes were consistent with normal wrestling injuries and there was no proof or evidence of any kind of rat.
"We made sure everything was cleaned up and cleared out over the December break that year," Guiney said.
Rats were spotted in the hallway and cafeteria last Tuesday.
The district announced a set of actions to deal with the problem including adding another cafeteria cleaning at the end of the day, throwing out forgotten lunches, removing the middle school vending machines and cleaning the air handling units in the cafeteria. The district also increased the number of traps. State regulations prohibit a school district from using pesticides and fumigating.
"The district continues to monitor its facilities for health, safety and security," Guiney said. "The district staff remains vigilant in ensuring that food is stored safely and securely, kitchen areas and food service locations are sanitized, that traps are set and monitored, and that communication to parents is informative. We are cautiously hopeful that we don't have anymore unwanted guests.
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