DENVER (CBS4) – A mouse and rat infestation at a Denver high school was discovered last week during a surprise inspection by health officials.
The inspection last Thursday led to the shutdown of the kitchen in East High School located just south of City Park.READ MORE: Community Groups Coming Together To Help Residents Facing Eviction In East Colfax Neighborhood
According to Department of Environmental Health, it was the first time they’ve had to close a school’s kitchen because of an infestation in recent history. The surprise inspection found hundreds and hundreds of mouse and rats droppings in the same place where students’ lunches are made.
The rodent infestation had the roughly 2,000 students at the school talking.
“You like to think that your school is clean, but to see those pictures was pretty surprising,” senior Niall Comaskey said.
The kitchen was immediately shut down after the surprise inspection.
“What was unusual in this case was the extent of the issue,” Danica Lee with the Department of Environmental Health said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Health Inspection At East High
Lee says the school’s kitchen was cleaned and reopened Monday morning after two more inspections, but the infestation is still a problem.READ MORE: Highway 133 Reopens Near Redstone After Mudslide
“When we are dealing with a situation like this, we do have to work with the entire school,” Lee said.
Reports show much of the infestation is in the school storage areas where it’s not as much of a health risk, but is still a pressing issue.
“We will be having an investigator out there every school day until the issue has really been completely addressed,” Lee said.
“The conditions that bad are pretty appalling,” another student said.
The school has until Dec. 12 to sanitize the entire school and has until the start of next semester to completely rid itself of the infestation.
“I hope that it’s sorted out soon for the sake of the kids that have to eat in the cafeteria,” Comaskey said.
On the days the kitchen was closed the school brought in outside food.MORE NEWS: 'I'm Embarrassed For Colorado,' Hospital CEO In Rep. Lauren Boebert's District Tells CNN
East High’s principal also sent a letter home to families about the issue and to take extra steps to prevent sickness, such as washing everything from hands to book bags.