Rodents infest Duval County Elementary School, force cafeteria to close
JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – The cafeteria at Cedar Hills Elementary School in Duval County has been closed as custodial staff and exterminators work to resolve a rodent infestation on campus.
Families were notified with a message from school principal Marva McKinney, who stressed the importance of full transparency regarding any situation that may affect students’ education.
“I’m calling to share that rodents have been spotted on our campus and inside our school building,” McKinney’s message said. “For this reason, we are taking several steps following the advice of our pest control contractor and district maintenance staff.”
McKinney said the school had closed the school cafeteria, the main place where rodents were found, allowing exterminators to implement an “aggressive treatment plan” and minimize the impact on the functioning of school.
The principal’s message said the plan included the “safe trapping and disposal” of rodents. While extermination efforts continue, the school will have food prepared offsite and served to students outside of the cafeteria.
“Additional steps include working with pest control to identify and close all access points that could allow rodents to enter the school, disinfecting and cleaning areas where rodents have been spotted, cleaning of all storage and clutter, and the cutting of tree branches from the roof of the building,” McKinney’s post said.
Over the past few years, Cedar Hills Elementary has consistently been identified for Comprehensive Support and Enhancement, which is a special status given to schools in Florida that achieve a “D” or “F” school grade, have an overall federal index of 40% or less, or have a graduation rate of 67% or less.
The school earned a “D” grade from the state in the 2017-18 school year and a “C” grade the following year. The 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years did not return grades due to changes in testing policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cedar Hills Elementary currently educates 442 students using 26 teachers.
News4JAX asked Duval County Public Schools if funds raised from the half-cent school improvement sales tax would be used for rodent extermination. This article will be updated once the response is received.
Principal McKinney’s full message to Cedar Hills Elementary families can be read below:
“Hello families at Cedar Hills Elementary School.
“In the spirit of open and transparent communication, I want to keep you informed of anything that impacts your student’s educational experience.
“I am calling to share that rodents have been spotted on our campus and inside our school building. For this reason, we are taking several steps following the advice of our pest control contractor and building maintenance staff. district.
“First, we closed our cafeteria, which is the main place where the rodents have been settled. Closing the cafeteria allows pest control staff to have an aggressive treatment plan without impacting students and staff. The plan includes the trapping and safe disposal of rodents.
“While the cafeteria is closed, food will be prepared offsite and brought to our school and students will be provided with meals at alternate locations.
“Additional steps include working with pest control to identify and close all access points that could allow rodents to enter the school, disinfecting and cleaning areas where rodents have been spotted, cleaning of all storage and clutter, and the cutting of tree branches from the roof of the building.
“We will continue to update you and inform you of the reopening of our cafeteria. If you have any questions or concerns about this incident or anything related to your student’s educational experience at Cedar Hill Elementary School, please do not hesitate to contact me through the school.
Marva McKinney, Principal, Cedar Hills Elementary School
Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax – All Rights Reserved.