SNOHOMISH — A rat problem in a school here is likely to keep the cafeteria shut down for at least six weeks.
A food-service worker reported a strange odor coming from the Snohomish High School kitchen on Wednesday. A pest control company was called to look in the stink.
“In investigating the smell, they found droppings in the ceiling,” Snohomish School District spokeswoman Kristin Foley said.
The building that houses the school cafeteria and commons was shut down immediately, she said.
Breakfast and lunch on Thursday were served in the gym. The food was prepared and brought to campus from the kitchen at Valley View Middle School.
The Snohomish Health District was called to help make sure food-safety standards were being met, Foley said.
The school board on Friday hired an extermination company to get rid of the rats. Clean Crawls Pest Control Services was expected to start work Saturday.
The affected area will be sealed so problem areas can be torn out, cleaned and replaced, Foley said. The rodents will be trapped and removed.
The district will have health inspectors come in before reopening the building, she said. It is expected to be closed through spring break in early April.
Foley said the district did not yet have a more specific timeline or know how much getting rid of the rodents would cost.
Until they’re gone, food will continue to be prepared in the kitchen off-campus and served in the high school gym. Students in the meantime will have limited breakfast and lunch choices on the menu.
Even so, they didn’t seem too bothered by the disruption, Foley said.
“Everything’s going really well,” she said. “The kids have just adapted and are moving forward.”
Because rumors about the rats are going around, Foley encouraged people to call the district office at 360-563-7280 with questions or concerns.