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Newport Harbor High battles rat ‘infestation’

This photo, taken at about 5:40 a.m. Thursday, shows two dead rats dangling from snap traps on a wall in teacher Andres Dominguez’s classroom at Newport Harbor High School.

This photo, taken at about 5:40 a.m. Thursday, shows two dead rats dangling from snap traps on a wall in teacher Andres Dominguez’s classroom at Newport Harbor High School.

(Andres Dominguez)

Officials at Newport Harbor High School say they will use the upcoming winter break to try to end a string of rat sightings in classrooms at the Newport Beach campus.

Principal Sean Boulton said construction work on the school’s stadium and a nearby church likely has driven rats into the classrooms.

Rat sightings in Dodge Hall, where math and world language classes are held, have been an issue for a little over a month, Boulton said Thursday.

The school has been setting up traps in classrooms to catch the rodents, and a math teacher photographed two dead rats in snap traps on a wall in his classroom early Thursday morning.

“What we’ve done is asked staff to make sure windows are shut at night … we’re spackling up different holes and we’re asking teachers to watch the food consumption inside the classrooms and to put any food away in storage areas,” Boulton said. “We do have a rat infestation and, over the holiday, we’re obviously going to step up our efforts to get rid of it.”

The winter break runs Dec. 23 through Jan. 8.

During that time, extensive traps will be set up and maintenance and operations staff will plug holes where rats might enter, install door sweeps and arrive early each morning to get rid of used traps.

In November, Newport Harbor teachers took their concerns about the rats to Nicholas Dix, executive director of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers.

Dix said teachers have told him that sightings of live rats, rat droppings and dead rats caught in traps are occurring on a “pretty frequent basis” on campus.

Dix said he spoke to the district’s human-resources department about the rat issue the day after meeting with Newport Harbor teachers.

“We don’t have any new information whatsoever about a rat abatement plan,” Dix said Thursday. “But I am confident the district will be able to resolve it.”

alexandra.chan@latimes.com

Twitter: @AlexandraChan10


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