SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The exterminating firm hired to keep pests out of South Orange and Maplewood schools says they are in contact with the district about the mice problem that health officials this week labeled a “hazard” and “infestation.”

But the firm offered no further explanation for its apparent poor practices in mice remediation and prevention that prompted a letter to the district last month from Maplewood Township Health Officer Robert Roe indicating a mice infestation had grown to become a “health hazard.”

Alliance Pest Control of Tinton Falls, which is being paid $23,412 for integrated pest management in the South Orange Maplewood School District for 2017-2018, told TAPinto SOMA that it has been “in touch with the district as to what their needs are.” 

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Roe’s letter specifically cited Alliance, stating: “our inspections have also shown what appears to be inadequate work by the current extermination company. On multiple occasions, we have instructed workers from this company to do specific clean up on mice feces and they failed to do even this simple task. Sticky traps are simply thrown on top of mouse feces that is already on the floor or shelf.”

Although the letter was sent to the district on Aug. 24, parents were not informed of the situation until nearly three weeks later when an email was sent on Wednesday, Sept. 13, advising parents of efforts being made to improve the situation.

Asked why the wait took so long, District Spokeswoman Suzanne Turner said via email: 

“The District had to confirm certain aspects of the letter with the department of health to ensure that we had clear and accurate information prior to advising parents about the specifics of the notice. The District consulted with the department of health on Tuesday. We advised parents within 24 hours of that conversation.”

In South Orange, meanwhile, Village Health Officer John Festa said that schools in that community are not affected by any mice issues, telling TAPinto SOMA on Thursday, “I’m in the schools all the time inspecting the cafeterias and we have nurses in the schools all the time during the year. Right now, I’d say we are in check. I spoke to all of the principals today and staff and I’m sure if there was a problem they would have said something to me.”

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