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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Rat Infestation Nests Removed From Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Courtyard Today Says School Principal - But Garbage Thrown Out In Courtyard This Evening

The NYC Department of Education was on site of the Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 courtyard rat infestation this morning

to seal off the rat burrows and later pour concrete over the area.

According to the Roosevelt Island Daily:
Weeks of pressure from the Roosevelt Island community finally brought results as the Department of Education sent a crew today to plow over PS/IS 217's rat colony, just two days after WCBS 2 and WPIX 11 exposed explanations from the school administration as, at best, evasions of responsibility....
Frank Farance was present during the DOE rat work and reports:
The worker said there were lots of live rats when they went into the nests, he said they were crawling around him. I asked, How Many - 5, 10, a dozen? He said: Over 20.

Dead ones: Dump them into the river. Some live ones: whack them with a shovel.

Other live ones:

they ran away.
During last evening's Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Public Session, Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos staff member Sushant Harite provided a status report about the PS/IS 217 rat infestation. In addition to the DOE work done today, Mr. Harite noted that pesticides are being used on the rats but he did not know what type of pesticide was being used. Also, Mr Farance raised the issue to Mr. Harite of DOE not complying with NYC Department of Health requirements for rat remediation including not having proper signage in the infested area.

RIRA Island Services Committee Chair Aaron Hamburger and ISC member Rosanna Ceruzzi reviewed the rat infestation problem and recommended using Cats to control the rats.

According to this NPR article, cats solved one Chicago neighborhood's rat problem.

As I was about to publish post above, Mr Farance forwards this message sent from Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman today (Ms Beckman did not send message to Roosevelt Islander). According to Ms. Beckman:
Message from Principal Beckman (6/8/17)

Dear 217 Parents, Families & Community-

Thank you all for your patience and perseverance during our struggle with the rat infestation in the small piece of land adjacent to the parking lot.

First, I again want to reassure you that the interior of our beautiful school remains clean and safe. Second, an inspection was done today, 6/8/17, by an inspector with the Department of Education, and the school passed that inspection — the inspector found no evidence of rats or other vermin/pests within the school. In addition, although the recent media attention to our school has been challenging for our staff, parents and students, we took the steps we could to ensure that students' privacy was protected while the media was at our school — including keeping students inside while the camera crews were in the vicinity with cameras focused on our school yard.

Last week, we had a multi-agency inspection and walk-through, which included experts from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Sanitation, the Department of Sustainability and the Division of School Facilities. As a result of those meetings, the following steps have been, and are being, taken:

* Exterminators began work, which has resulted in a significant improvement.

* The DOE has begun construction on the land north of the cafeteria.

* The DOE construction team has removed the planters where the rats were burrowing; the nests have been removed.

* The DOE will be installing pavement to prevent future rat burrowing, tunneling, nesting.

* We have received 4 bins from the Department of School Facilities to store food waste in. This will prevent trash from sitting unprotected outside for extended periods of time.

* The DOE exterminator will continue to come weekly to monitor bait stations.

As a result of the exterminators' efforts, we are already beginning to see positive change in the yard, and we will continue to keep you updated as we learn more about what the inter-agency team recommends regarding our property.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your continued support, concern and patience. I know this situation has been frustrating and, for some, frightening, but I am confident we are on our way to overcoming this challenge.

Mandana Beckman
PS/IS 217 Principal
Mr Farance also reports this evening that after DOE rat work today:
today's there's garbage,

and the rats

have already gone through it (rat holes)
Read the previous posts, including videos, on PS/IS 217 garbage and rat infestation.