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Prep School now clean after rat infestation: source

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Teachers and students at the Kingstown Preparatory School (KPS) on Monday returned to a “normal” environment after a rat infestation last week.

Sources tell I-Witness News that there is evidence of thorough cleaning and proper refuge disposal at the school, located at Richmond Hill.

Parents and teachers were concerned last week about the Ministry of Education’s response to the presence of the rodents in the school when the new term began last Tuesday.

The problem is said to have been at its worst on the ground floor of the building, which houses students from Grades K to 2.

Reports say that the Vector Control Unit on Wednesday placed rat baits in the school but education officials kept the institution opened, much to the displeasure of the teachers and parents.

Information reaching I-Witness News say that education officials, at a meeting with the staff of the school on Thursday, implied that teachers were exaggerating the situation, while another speaker suggested that teachers did not know what rat droppings look like.

A source familiar with the proceeding of the meeting said that education officials said that teachers were keeping their cupboards untidy and were not teaching students proper garbage disposal practices.

But I-Witness News understands that the rats are believed to have originated from the large trees in the area.

Reports indicate that the school was not being cleaned properly and the large volume of garbage generated daily is collected just once a week.

One source told I-Witness that in order to get education officials to take the matter seriously, teachers suggested that the school be closed to students but teachers would continue to report to work.

However, according to the source, education officials insisted that teachers help prisoners — one of whom is said to have been bitten by a rat — clean the school.

But while the Vector Control Unit visited the school last Wednesday, teachers were on Friday still killing rats on Friday.

One source told I-Witness News that an education official, in response to an expressed concern about students accidentally consuming the rat baits, said that the chemicals are not poisonous unless consumed in large quantities.

The Ministry of Education’s closing of the KPS for one day was markedly different from its closing of another school in the vicinity for a week when it had a similar problem last year.

Information reaching I-Witness News further indicate that a school in Central Leeward also had a rat infestation problem and was closed.

“They tried to cover up the situation at that school too because its a new school and obviously makes it looks as though someone is not doing their job,” a source said of the situation at the Central Leeward school.

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