Rat infestation delays start of school for weeks at Schurr High School in Montebello

Local news

Rats scurrying around some classrooms at Schurr High School in Montebello has led to the delay of the start of the school year for thousands of students.

In-person school was supposed to begin on Monday for the high schoolers, but instead they will have to wait a few more weeks while crews and an industrial hygienist work to get rid of the rodents, clean up the mess and sanitize before they can return to campus, school officials said.

Video from inside one of the school’s classroom showed a rat scurrying around a cabinet, then jumping down to the floor near a chair and running toward a desk. There were also rat droppings, and books and papers appeared to be shredded from the rats.

Al Cuevas, a teacher at Schurr High School, posted his thoughts about the rat-related closure in an Instagram post on Monday.

“Today was supposed to be my first day of school in person since March 2020 at Schurr High School. Instead we’re shut down because of a complete rat infestation,” he wrote.

Mark Skvarna, interim superintendent of the Montebello Unified School District, said the school’s C-Building, which is its largest, has been deemed as the location infested with the rats and labeled as unsafe for students and staff.

“Out of an abundance of caution, it was determined that the best course of action was delay the start of the school for everyone’s safety,” Skvarna said in a notice to parents. “Your students’ teachers will be communicating with you regarding next steps.”

As ongoing clean up efforts and sanitation, the district “will be moving forward with instruction via the modified independent studies model” beginning this Thursday, the interim superintendent said in a follow-up statement Tuesday.

In the meantime, some sections of Schurr High School remain open for registration, books and materials pick-up, counseling appointments, technology support, sports, lunch distribution and other school-related business.

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