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A daycare facility for the children of House members had a rat problem over the summer, according to reports, but they insist the problem has been taken care of.
First reported by local WJLA, an anonymous whistleblower posted online about the alleged infestation at the U.S. House of Representatives Child Care Center, with one text claiming that there had been 15 rat sightings. In some cases, the animals were seen crawling over sleeping children during nap time.
Fox News reached out to the House Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, which operates the Washington, D.C., center, but they did not respond. CAO did give a statement to WJLA, saying they had “been working closely with the Architect of the Capitol and the Office of the Attending Physician’s environmental health staff since early July” to address reports of rat sightings.
“All parties involved have taken immediate action and the utmost care in ensuring the Child Care Center remains a safe and welcoming environment for staff and the Center’s children and families,” the statement added, claiming that “[t[here have been no reports, sightings, or evidence of rodents since mid-August.”
A former assistant teacher at the center, Gabrielle Reid, confirmed the sightings to the Washington Post.
“There have been sightings of more than 15 rats in a two-month period, and they told the teachers to stay in the classroom with feces and dead rats,” Reid said. She quit the center in August, in part because of the rat issue and concerns over possible health issues.
Paige Beatty, director of the center, acknowledged the problem to parents in July. A July 11 email from Beatty to parents published by WJLA said that there had already been sightings for a week at that point. The email said that the center was “working closely with the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), who are evaluating the issue and determining the appropriate pest management techniques to address the problem.”
A subsequent email on August 16 stated that while they were still seeing rats, the sightings and other “evidence of activity” at the center had “slowed significantly.”
The child care center’s operations manager, Bethany Detweiller, contacted staff on August 24 with an update. The email, also published by WJLA, detailed steps already taken to address the issue. This included adding more trash pickups, sealing holes and replacing access panels in bathrooms, and adding “rodent-proof sealing to plumbing and replaced damaged or missing ceiling tiles.”
A separate email from September 1 indicated that every classroom will receive a deep cleaning, the station reported.