13 school cafeterias not in compliance - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

13 school cafeterias not in compliance

by Krystal Paco

Guam - The Department of Education and its new food service provider are working to get the island's cafeterias up to par, as school has been delayed for one week. In a little more than two months, more than a dozen school cafeterias that passed inspection back in may have deteriorated so significantly that Public Health won't signoff on pre-operation inspections.

"All the cafeterias we inspected so far are not in compliance with the sanitary permit," said Public Health Division of Environmental Health Administrator Tom Nadeau, who added that the agency recommended that students bring sack lunches to school until the cafeterias were brought into compliance, but DOE and its new food service provider, Sodexo, made the decision late Thursday to delay the opening of all public schools until Monday, August 15.

Interim Superintendent Taling Taitano said, "Every decision we make at DOE is student centered and we want to ensure were able to serve food safely to our children."

The decision has been received mixed reaction from parents.

According to Public Health's inspection reports, noted deficiencies included evidence of rat and cockroach droppings, inoperable walk in freezers and chillers, roof leaks in the dining area, termite infestation, a lack of hot water, numerous leaks, and exposed electrical wires and missing floor tiles. Of the 32 cafeterias, 13 are primary cooking sites where food preparation actually occurs while the remaining schools are simply satellite cafeterias receiving and serving the food.

While the deficiencies are all a setback, Sodexo Business Development Director Joe Majka says there wasn't much the company could do as they only received access to cafeterias a few days ago after receiving a notice to proceed a week ago. "So we went in we looked at the situation with DOE, who has pretty much been orchestrating everything and we saw what the situation was we developed a plan and that's what were moving forward with," he explained.

KUAM News asked if Majka was considering that Kings may have left faulty equipment, to which he replied, "Oh no, once again - we just got into the situation a few days ago were looking at it right now and I'm certainly in no position to say and I don't believe that it was sabotage."

While the repairs are being made and Sodexo prepares to provide meals on the 15th, the superintendent says a new school calendar is being prepared to specify which days will be used to make up four days of classes.

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