In this age of instant communications and politicians claiming they want transparency, maybe it is time that school cafeteria health inspection reports are posted on the websites for local schools. What would prompt such a proposal?
School administrators and elected officials are fond of telling us how they want to communicate and provide information to citizens and parents about our schools. There is an inherent responsibility to disclose the good and the not so good information, so that all stakeholders have a complete picture.
When recently surfing the internet some interesting information was found concerning Coventry public schools, as well as other schools across the state. Most schools are required to have 3 or 4 cafeteria health inspections per year and some communities such as Stamford post some information on line.
While the information found is from the year 2010, it makes you wonder just how we are doing today. For some, the following information may be disturbing in content, for others it may be more disturbing that it was never discussed openly and they were kept in the dark.
First the good news, Coventry Grammar School cafeteria was nearly perfect with two scores of 100 and one inspection with a minor floor issue. Congratulations to their staff for a job well done. Now it is unfortunate that the other schools in town did not fair quit so well.
While there were some issues of mold related to ceiling and cooling fans at G. H. Robertson during the first two inspections by December the 5th all was corrected. Not only did it receive a perfect score at that time but also a special notation of a “Very well organized and clean kitchen” was included. So far things are pretty good, but there is more.
At Captain Nathan Hale School during the first inspection on January 12, the following violations were noted: utensil drawer needs cleaning; inadequate sanitizer; dirty, rusted shelves with a score of 93. During the second inspection on May 5 things got a little worse, the score dropped to 89 and more violations were found: floor under washer needs cleaning; some mold; some dented cans; sanitizer inadequate. Then on November 15, the score was 91 and the following items were notated: washer rusted and paint peeling; mold in walk-in refrigerator; washer temperature being evaluated. It is obvious that this was not a perfect situation but it offers guidance for corrections and is informative.
Now Coventry High School cafeteria is another story that may have you a bit more concerned and may prompt you to want health reports posted on-line in the future. On January 12, the report indicates a score of 91 and violations of: cutting boards marked up by knives; need replacing; storage room floor needs cleaning; bleach spray is not to be used on food contact, only for sanitizing. On May 5th we find the cutting board issue has been ignored and the violations read as follows: dusty fan; broken sink valve; floor peeling; cutting boards are knife marked and should be replaced. It is the next report on December 5 that is most disturbing, the site FAILED INSPECTION because of a 4 point violation “mice had chewed through three bags of gravy mix; two traps in dry storage room had dead mice in them; need to get a pest control company to evaluate mouse issue”. Now do you suppose the mice ate through the bags that morning and jumped into the traps just before the inspectors got there, or do you think somebody let things slide? What would the situation have been if the inspector had not been there on December 5? Coventry High School required a 4th inspection two weeks later on December 19th when the score was 99 and the “kitchen appeared to be much more organized and clean today”.
So there you have it, a bit of health inspection history for Coventry schools. Does it make you think that maybe in this day and age of technology that such reports should be posted on line? There is nothing to hide, after all the information is public record just not conveniently available.