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School now 'cleanest in city' after rat infestation

By Luke Barnes

Published 07/09/2016

Several dead rats were discovered on the school grounds of St Teresa's on Monday morning, however, the principal insisted that the school was
Several dead rats were discovered on the school grounds of St Teresa's on Monday morning, however, the principal insisted that the school was "the cleanest in Belfast" (stock image)

A Belfast primary school last night reassured parents it has beaten the rodent infestation that forced it to close last week.

Several dead rats were discovered on the school grounds of St Teresa's on Monday morning, however, the principal insisted that the school was "the cleanest in Belfast".

The west Belfast primary school was forced to shut its doors last Wednesday after the discovery of rat droppings.

Around 450 pupils were told to stay home just one day before the new term was due to begin.

It took a crew of 32 industrial cleaners two days to clean the school from top to bottom.

Terry Rodgers, principal at St Teresa's, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the deep clean which was both ruthless and thorough.

"We went way above the call of duty. Whole areas were sanitised. It was overkill but we're now probably the cleanest school in Belfast."

Mr Rodgers said that potential areas of infestation were sectioned off and equipment that couldn't be sanitised was thrown out.

The school was forced to dispose of stationery and books that couldn't be cleaned to ensure the entire grounds were rodent free.

Despite the cleaning, a number of rat bodies were discovered early on Monday by the caretaker near the wooded area that runs parallel to the playground.

A concerned parent contacted the Belfast Telegraph and said: "The school was supposed to be rat-free but I have heard that the bodies of 10 rats have been discovered. I'm very worried."

However, Mr Rodgers assured parents that the school was "100%" rat-free and added that they were continuing to monitor school grounds for signs of rodents.

After the school closure last week parents took to social media to express their concern.

Paula Armstrong said on Facebook: "It's a disgrace that they only found the problem a day before the school opened. The teachers have been in the school for a few days."

Karen Downey Donnelly supported the school's decision to shut its doors, saying: "I think most parents would rather be inconvenienced and know that their children are being educated in a clean and pest-free environment. Well done to the school for acting appropriately and putting the health and safety of pupils first."

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