Editor’s Note: The following was written and submitted by Chris Boyle.
The North Merrick Board of Education held a special public meeting regarding the their efforts to combat the ongoing cockroach problem plaguing Old Mill Road School, an issue that the school district has been dealing with for several years.
According to Director of School Facilities James Saitta, who has been a driving force in dealing with the roach issues, these meetings are a way of keeping lines of communication open between the Board of Education and the parents of the district.
“We’ve had a couple of these meetings,” he said. “The last one was in October. This was an update on the status of the roach issue through October to its status today. We outlined the steps we’ve been taking in monitoring the situation and hopefully eradicating it.”
Board President Neil Brown assured parents that the Board of Education was working hard to develop updated and steadfast guidelines for dealing with any future infestations within district buildings.
“The plan here is to present to the Board, possibly at our next meeting, a comprehensive policy for dealing with this issue,” he said. “Any policy that is recommended to the Board will have an initial reading, followed by comments by the Board, public comments, followed by a second meeting where it will be adopted. So, it will take two meetings for it to be adopted.”
North Merrick parents have previously voiced concerns over the timeliness of the district’s efforts to control the cockroach issue at Old Mill Road, as well as possible diseases and kitchen contamination.
However, in a presentation delivered at the meeting to both the Board and parents, Saitta proclaimed that the district finally seems to be getting a handle on the cockroach problem.
“We’ve been placing glue boards throughout the entire school,” he said. “We’re figuring out where we’re catching them, treating those areas and looking for any problems that the school might have that may be helping their population.”Get news your way on Merrick Patch. See our great list of groups and click the green “+ Follow” button on the ones you like. Done!
In addition, the district is taking other steps to alleviate the problem, including caulking and sealing the school’s exterior windows. Saitta said that this approach has produced positive results, and with refinement, he hopes that further improvement could still be obtained.
“We’ve noticed a huge reduction,” Saitta adde. “Currently, we’re only finding very few roaches in Old Mill Road school. We’re hoping to keep it like that or obviously get rid of them even further. The problem’s been here for years. I think the springtime will be a good measure of our success.”
Currently, Saitta said that roach sightings are down to three a day or less at Old Mill Road, down from a high of about 100 per day just six weeks ago — a 95 percent reduction in sightings.
Saitta also noted that the Department of Health has conducted two inspections of Old Mill Road School since the beginning of the current school year, and their findings indicated no evidence of cockroach infestation in the cafeteria and that the food service facility was maintained in good condition.
Superintendent David Feller expressed the desire to combine efforts with parents of the district to tackle the cockroach problem faced by Old Mill Road once and for all.
“We all need to work together to resolve this,” he said. “I want to make sure that we can come up with the right plan, and the results, good or bad, are shared so that we if we need to improve it or not.”Do you think the conditions have improved? Tell us in the comments below.
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