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Health Dept. clears Makowski after cleanup for rodents

The cafeteria in the Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center was set to reopen Tuesday after passing a county Health Department inspection Monday, a week after it was closed because of a rodent problem.

The inspection report was completed Monday afternoon, said Mary C. St. Mary, department public information officer, who provided a copy of the document. It stated there was no evidence of current rodent activity in food preparation, food storage or dining areas. Still, the school has to regularly monitor the areas for new or recurring evidence of rodent activity.

“The school cafeteria and all food service operation areas have been cleared to fully resume operations beginning ... March 1. Breakfast will continue to be served in all classrooms on a daily basis,” Kevin Eberle, district chief operations officer, said in a written statement.

“We consider the health and safety of the students in all of our schools to be a top priority,” the statement continued. “We have provided guidelines for all school administrators to work with their chief engineers in regularly reviewing areas of their building in order to maintain optimum health and safety conditions.”

The Health Department report said the school must “continue to clean and sanitize all food prep surfaces prior to first use daily and monitor for any contamination daily until problem is deemed eliminated.”

The cafeteria had been closed since last Tuesday, after inspectors cited the Jefferson Avenue school for a number of violations in and around the food-service area, including a lack of measures to control the entrance of rodents.

Inspectors found “rat or mice droppings” in the kitchen and storage area, but they did not actually see any vermin, health officials said.

Other violations involved classrooms - where breakfast is served - and outside loading areas due to improper trash storage and removal.

Following last week’s initial inspection, the district’s engineering staff and plant department started work on the original issues cited.

They also requested a reinspection for last Friday. However, the cleanup effort was not enough and the school failed the second inspection, too. There were items that still needed addressing, and engineering crews worked on the remaining issues on Friday and over the weekend, schools officials said Monday.

After inspectors came back Monday morning to reinspect the school a second time, the district received the green light to prepare and serve food again.

During the cafeteria’s closing, all student breakfasts and lunches were prepared at the district’s commissary and delivered to the school.

email: dswilliams@buffnews.com