PAWTUCKET — School officials say that the recent cockroach problem at the Cunningham Elementary School has been addressed and the kitchen is expected to re-open by early next week.
The kitchen at the school at 40 Baldwin Street was closed after a food service worker discovered several cockroaches present on Feb. 25. School officials said that the central administration was notified about the cockroaches and a pest control contractor was immediately called in to spray the area.
Since that time, all food served to Cunningham students was prepared off-site and delivered to the school, which has population of 550.
School Business Administrator Thomas Conlon said on Thursday that the kitchen had been treated twice more for the pests. In addition, an outside cleaning company was brought in on Wednesday to do a comprehensive scrubbing of the floors, walls and all other surfaces. “This was done out of an abundance of caution, or maybe even an over-abundance of caution,” Conlon said.
A subsequent inspection by the state Department of Health on March 6 found no more cockroaches, but inspectors cited the school for having a kitchen door leading to the outside that was not tight fitting. Conlon said the door has since been fixed.
Once the cleaning has concluded on Thursday, Conlon said the state Department of Health will be invited back for another inspection. He said once the kitchen gets another clean bill of health, which is expected, it will again be used for cooking and preparing food for the students.
Conlon said that while no one can be sure of the source of the three cockroaches, he believes they likely entered the kitchen through the loose door. “To me, that's nature. They got in not because there was a dirty kitchen,” he stated.