On June 22nd of 2018, Vanessa Washington Griffin, an employee of the Augusta University Child Care Center, emailed Dr. Nancy Carnahan Webb, the Center’s Director.
“We have a serious issue with rats in the building. They have put down traps in the kitchen, but we are seeing rat feces in the classrooms now….”
An hour later Dr. Web emailed back “Oh dear. I’m sure the rodents are mice, but whatever, it’s still is unacceptable. I think we need to find out how they are getting in. I’m meeting with the summer Scholars individually today. When I finish I will come over.”
It should be noted that Dr. Webb is a professor who works in the Pediatric Department at AU and is a member of the Institute of Public and Preventative Health.
The summer Scholars Dr. Webb is referring are a part of the Institute of Public and Preventive Health (IPPH) Summer Public Health Scholars Program.
The program is a 10-week internship that includes hands-on experience and immersion in a public health research setting. IPPH faculty members mentor interns, exposing them to the breadth of public health.
It also should be noted that these students were being exposed to the breadth of public health by a professor who had just been informed the day care she was in charge of was rat infested.
And that professor’s reaction was basically ‘I’m busy doing grown up work here. I’ll be over when I can.’
One more note. In October of 2018 the state found the mats in the infant room could not be sanitized due to rips and tears. In one of the rooms day care workers were reporting to management having to clean up rodent droppings daily.
This story gets more and more frustrating and disgusting the deeper you go. Suffice to say, the University has some explaining to do. To the public, to the faculty and students, but most importantly the parents of the children who were left to crawl around in rat feces, chewing on toys and sleeping on mats for another eight weeks after the initial email.
Excerpt from June 27, 2018 email to Dr. Webb from Washington-Griffin, “We are cleaning up the mice feces every day and they are right back the next day.
I’ve attached some pictures from L2 (Lulaby2), Explorers and the kitchen. I don’t know what else to do. I see where they put down glue traps but they can’t be where the mice are.”
These back and forth emails lasted for two more months, while over thirty children crawled, ate and slept in the infested building.
As of this time, it is unclear if any of the men and women in leadership positions who we made aware of the issue, and there were many, had children of their own in the day care.
The Metro Spirit will be looking into the issues surrounding the infestation, closure of the day care and subsequent investigation by the state over the next few days. What we found is quite shocking.