The State Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, has sent a letter requiring the Oakland Unified School District to deal with an allegation of rodent infestation at McClymonds High School, the Oakland Post has learned.
According to the Cal/OSHA letter dated May 16, the state agency has received a complaint that “Rodents and/or their feces/urine have been observed on the first and second floors of the main building, in classrooms, the main hallway and the teachers’ lounge” at McClymonds, located at 2607 Myrtle St. in West Oakland.
Further, the district “is not adequately addressing (the) rodent infestation on campus. The (district) has not implemented an effective program of extermination and control,” the letter said.
While the state agency has not investigated the allegations nor does it intend to do so, it is requiring the district “to investigate the alleged conditions and notify this office in writing no later than 14 calendar days after receipt of this letter whether the alleged conditions exist and, if so, specify the corrective actions you have taken and the estimated date when the corrections will be completed,” the letter said.
“You are required to post a copy of this letter in a prominent location in their workplace where it is readily accessible for employee review for at least three working days or until the hazard is corrected, whichever is longer.”
According to allegations the Post received, the administration did not respond to an employee complaint before Cal/OSHA was notified.
Contacted by the Oakland Post, district spokesman John Sasaki said, “We have staff from custodial services working on this issue, and we have enlisted support from an extermination company to rectify the situation.”
“The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we are always focused on ensuring that the schools and other district properties are clean and safe, and of course, free of pests,” Sasaki said.
“Regarding the complaint to OSHA, we appreciate the state keeping an eye on our schools and our operations. The steps we are now taking will address the issues raised in the complaint, and more importantly, leave the school less vulnerable to pests.”
Within the last year, the Post also has heard from teachers and parents about rodent infestations at Roots International Academy and Fremont High School.
“When our site leadership learns of any cleanliness issues at our schools, they call for support from our custodial services, risk management and buildings and grounds staff, which is what has happened at McClymonds and the other (two) schools you mentioned,” Sasaki said.
As Oakland still struggles to deal with out-of-control illegal dumping of trash and garbage in flatland neighborhoods, many local residents consider infestation of pests, which can carry serious diseases, to represent a growing public health danger.