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Jefferson schools get improved bill of health

February 04, 2002

Jefferson schools get improved bill of health



A recent inspection of Jefferson County Schools shows evidence of substantial efforts by maintenance employees, principals, faculty, parents and students to correct environmental deficiencies found during Jefferson County Health Department inspections in the last two years, a county health official said.

"It is apparent that a detailed and comprehensive plan of correction was devised, which addressed these deficiencies on a prioritized schedule," James Hecker, chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Health, said in a news release.

The improvements followed two consecutive annual inspections at Jefferson High School that uncovered problems including lack of soap, paper towels and toilet paper in student bathrooms.

The inspections also found cigarette smoke in the bathrooms that was "thick as fog."

At the time, Jefferson County Health Department administrator Randy DeHaven called the lack of soap and towels in the bathrooms a "serious public health issue."

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Hecker said big changes were needed, including replacement of materials and equipment, which had been worn out by use and could not be repaired or restored.

In addition, detailed maintenance schedules needed to be implemented to ensure that the problems would not recur.

"In short, a complete re-evaluation and restructuring of school maintenance priorities, to involve training of custodial personnel on a continuing basis, was necessary," said Hecker.

Hecker said there have been dramatic improvements at Jefferson High School that reflect the efforts of the newly appointed principal, Susan Wall. A major problem of student smoking at the school has been virtually eliminated by the use of some investigative and innovative thought translated into effective actions, he said.

Superintendent of Schools Jud Romine said he was pleased to hear the details of the report.

"It's an ongoing situation you have to pay attention to all the time," Romine said Wednesday night.

Hecker said the Health Department considers the following schools to be in substantial compliance with environmental standards: South Jefferson Elementary, Shepherdstown Junior High, Shepherdstown Elementary, C.W. Shipley Elementary, Blue Ridge Elementary, and Jefferson High.

Acceptable compliance was noted at Harpers Ferry Junior High, Wright Denny Elementary, T.A. Lowery, and Charles Town Junior High. Minimal compliance exists in North Jefferson Elementary, Page Jackson, and Ranson Elementary.

Spot inspections will be scheduled for all schools during the rest of the academic year by health department representatives and school personnel may expect such visits on an unannounced basis.

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