MONTEBELLO (CBSLA) — Teachers at a high school in Montebello say rodents in the classroom have delayed their chance to get ready for the first day of in-person learning.
One teacher at Schurr High School said faculty tried to clean, but the issue had already gotten out of hand.
“It’s not safe, it is absolutely a health issue,” said social studies teacher Al Cuevas. “Some of the rooms were completely taken over by rats.”
In-person instruction remained closed on Monday when students were scheduled to return after more than one year of remote learning.
Parents expressed disappointment in what the teachers say is happening on campus.
“They totally could’ve been more prepared to start,” said parent Nadine Garcia.
Garcia and other parents and teachers say they blame the school’s administration and Montebello Unified for the problems. They say the district knew about the rats well before sending out a notice of delay Friday afternoon.
“That was very aggravating. And since then, today, I have tried to call the district and the school. No answer,” Garcia said.
The initial letter from the district to parents, which made no mention of possible rat problems, said in part that safety is the district’s priority, and “due to the type of construction and cleanup work, we will not be able to utilize the C-Building. This is the largest building on the campus and students and staff are unable to be relocated safely at this time.”
David Navar, the president of the Montebello Teachers Association, said rats have been a problem on campus for years.
“It’s a tragedy. It’s a disaster for our students who are losing out on valuable instructional days,” Navar said.
The district said it could be weeks before classes begin and state coronavirus funding to reopen schools prevents Schurr High School from moving classes back online.
Schurr High School shared a letter that read as follows:
Dear Spartan Family,
We want to provide you with an update regarding the status of Schurr High School. While conducting our cleanup work and routine maintenance assessment, we concluded that a further evaluation of our duct work and HVAC systems were needed at Schurr High School. During the assessment, rodents were found in other areas of the building, necessitating a larger scope of work.
The District took immediate action and is working with industry experts, including an industrial hygienist who has created a specification for the work that is underway and will be monitoring that work. Individual rooms are assessed based on that specification and the appropriate steps are taken to address any issues.
Containment has been placed to restrict access to the C-Building to only contractor employees engaged in cleanup activities.
Out of an abundance of caution, it was determined that the best course of action was to delay the start of school for everyone’s safety. Your students’ teachers will be communicating with you regarding next steps. Certain parts of the Schurr HS campus will be open for other school business.
We will continue to update you as more information becomes available. Thank you for your support.