Mold, Dust, Dead Bugs, Junk, and Rat Feces

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Nab, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Jun 25, 2017

    I'm starting a new job in August. The room I have belonged to another teacher - she left at the end of May. I went today to clean up a bit. The usual type: dust, try to figure out what to do with the furniture, see what was left behind, etc. Well, it took all of five minutes to figure out that either this room attracts all sorts of things or the previous teacher was a mess.

    There is mold - black-colored mold - growing all over one of the walls. There was a VERY thick layer of dust on EVERYTHING. School ended on May 25th, so it has only been a month since she was in the room. And, it looked like no one had touched a reference book, a shelf, or a chair in years. I moved a couple of small shelves, and found HUGE piles of rat feces. Fresh feces. I also found several pieces of wrapped candy behind the shelves. The filing cabinet was full of student papers from the last three years and opened (possibly used - some had stains or something on them) paper plates and cups. The limited storage was packed with broken, plastic, storage bins and baby wipes. The floor (which were supposedly buffed yesterday) was covered in dead bugs and were yellow-ish and sticky. (My sister thinks the yellow spots may be stained rat pee. Ew.)

    I spent a good three and a half hours just dusting, mopping (yes, I went buy a mop and broom), and throwing things out. And, the room is still fairly disgusting. I emailed the principal - mostly to inform her that there seems to be mold growing on my wall and that there may be rats in the building.

    My question: has anyone else ever gotten a classroom that was a total mess? How did you handle it?
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jun 25, 2017

    I've gotten that room several times. If you want it cleaned, I hate to tell you that you're probably going to have to clean it yourself.

    I've had custodians who wax over the soda that they spilled.

    Contractor trash bags and Fantastic are going to be your new best friends.

    And disposable gloves. Lots and lots of disposable gloves.
     
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  4. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Jun 26, 2017

    Ugh! This would raise my suspicions about the entire school environment! If a class was actually (somehow) existing in that room last year, this environment is not only a serious health hazard, but a serious educational hazard as well. In fact, for a school to force students to sit in such a room is definitely against child protection laws, and I wonder if you'd be liable for not reporting it to the police, although reporting to the principal or superintendent might also suffice. I would also be suspicious for other invisible health hazards in the room; for your own safety, seriously, I would recommend wearing a face mask while cleaning and showering with soap and water afterwards! I realize rats can't be totally avoided, but if they've found a likable home there, insect bites can be a serious health hazard. I would recommend checking with your PCP for any tests you might need, and until the room's more suitable, I'd also check for ticks daily--unusual in a non-grassy environment, but not unheard of. You are braver than I. I would seriously be considering another teaching position.

    Some quick (minor) cleaning supplies I've found quite handy--Wet Ones antibacterial wipes, the anti-bacterial wipes work better than the other varieties, and are useful for almost any emergency. Once I even cleaned off sticky gooey stuff from an insect catcher from my hand. They are superb for cleaning inside of desks and drawers, too, although 1-3 wipes might be needed, but much less messy to work with than soap and water and better at collecting icky crumbly stuff. Diluted vinegar in a spray bottle eats chalk ledge dust like magic (but has a strong smell for a couple of hours). I'm sensitive to insect repellents and one year my room for whatever reason became fly headquarters for the entire school! So I bought a plug in electric buzzer that can't be heard and it shooed flies out of my room. For a non-carpeted floor, (I use this at home), Swiffer floor dusters are amazing, and so are the mops; the brand name refills work better than off brand refills. The duster works with static electricity. An easy way to afford refills is to watch for local stores going out of business since they tend to use Swiffer products. I used the Swiffer carpet cleaner--it was fair to midland but served it's purpose well for stray paper on the floor and pencil shavings. I also dust shelves, etc. with Swiffer floor duster refills (easier for me to get where I want to dust).
     
  5. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Jun 26, 2017

    I've already started to clean it, and I don't mind doing so.

    I've been in one other classroom for a teaching demo and it was, as far as I could see, rather clean. It is a private Catholic school, so I have just contacted the principal. She's having one of the coaches look at it, and if it is serious, he'll get someone (janitors, I guess? I'm hoping not students.) in the room to clean it up. o_O (I'm hoping they poison for rats, too.)

    I actually cannot leave. My contract has a clause that states that if I leave the school before July 2018, they will fine me $25,000, which is roughly a year's pay after taxes. Nor do I want to leave. The staff has been very kind and I'm excited to start working.

    To be honest, I don't mind that the room is dirty. I can clean. I'm just a bit shocked. Everyone has praised the teacher I'm replacing - she was a great teacher, she was so organized, her room was so bright and cheerful, etc. It surprises me, because I've honestly never been in a more unorganized or disgusting room. The first thing I did when I got home was shower and put my clothes in the wash.

    I've bought some cleaning supplies and plan to keep them in the room. I may even get a cheap carpet to cover the stained part of the floor. I plan to go back sometime this weekend to work on decorations and move my teacher desk up front, so hopefully the mold situation gets fixed before then.
     
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  6. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    Jul 20, 2017

    Oh, that mold would really gross me out. I would wear a face mask also and try to spray everything with bleach. Leave the bleach on for at least ten minutes.

    I don't even know what to say about the rats. If it makes you feel any better, one time I opened a cabinet under a sink in an art room and cockroaches streamed out like crazy. It was like a horrible movie for a minute. I don't think anyone had opened that cabinet for a long time. The cockroaches were small, but plentiful. I called the janitor and he sprayed.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 20, 2017

    You SHOULD NOT be cleaning any of this. The mold and feces are dangerous health threats. I know you are a new hire, but you need to tell the P that you are concerned for your and your students' health.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jul 20, 2017

    Sounds like you're following the steps you should, although I'm hoping you've also taken photos of the mess (especially the health hazards).
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 20, 2017

    From the CDC:
    Any activity that puts you in contact with rodent droppings, urine, saliva, or nesting materials can place you at risk for infection. Hantavirus is spread when virus-containing particles from rodent urine, droppings, or saliva are stirred into the air. It is important to avoid actions that raise dust, such as sweeping or vacuuming. Infection occurs when you breathe in virus particles
     
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  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  11. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Jul 23, 2017

    A couple of posts above caused me to think of some cleaning precautions that might be helpful to all teachers. Even with windows open, too much bleach can irritate the person doing the cleaning. Concerning cockroaches, if you see cockroaches, that means the hidden nest has become overcrowded. Along with pesticides, boric acid can kill cockroaches in their nest when others crawl through it and carry it back to their nest--spread it in all the cracks and corners....but! Be cautious with boric acid around children and pets as they might ingest it.
     
  12. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2017

    I'm not saying you are wrong but vacant classrooms can become filthy very quickly. We were out of school June 8th, I went back to my classroom about 3 weeks later to pick up some materials and it was filthy. Dust everywhere, ants all over. I can't speak for organization but if she was leaving I'm sure she wasn't concerned about leaving the room in great shape.
     

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