Investigations conducted by the Public School System and the Bureau of Environmental Health cleared Herman’s Modern Bakery of any fault in the recent incident at Saipan International School where about 30 students complained of stomach cramps and diarrhea.
SIS head master Dr. Dale Jenkins disclosed this to Saipan Tribune after meeting yesterday with officials of the food vendor and after talking with officials of PSS.
PSS and BEH’s final report came after almost a week of inspection and review. Because of the result, the head master said the food vendor is allowed to resume delivering food to students starting today.
Jenkins earlier told Saipan Tribune that about 30 students, mostly upper graders, were absent from their classes due to symptoms which prompted SIS to seek PSS and the food vendor’s assessment on the matter.
Public Health Services director Roxanne Diaz told Saipan Tribune that BEH came into the picture and conducted an investigation last Monday.
She said the agency also collaborated with the food vendor and the school and made the necessary checks including inspection of its cafeteria, equipment, and water supply.
Diaz said BEH last Wednesday cleared the food vendor in its initial assessment and had then began checking the water supply in the school’s campus. Jenkins said yesterday that BEH made certain recommendations to the school which include, among others, maintaining a bacteria-free water dispenser which he described as a minor issue.
Jenkins admitted that despite the assessments and reviews conducted, “the main cause of the incident” has not been determined or established. However, he said he is very satisfied with the outcome and this means that students will now be better protected. Jenkins described last week’s incident as a valuable learning exercise for all parties concerned.
Herman’s Bakery has been SIS’ food vendor for two years and Jenkins earlier described its service to the school as excellent. He said all menus served to students are designed by PSS’ dietician and in accordance with federal guidelines.
Last week’s incident was the first time that a large number of students complained of similar symptoms that started midnight of Wednesday. On Thursday, the school received calls from parents informing SIS about their children’s absence due to stomach cramps and diarrhea. On the same morning, several students complained of the same symptoms and opted to lie down in school. Letters to all parents were also sent out to inform them about the incident.
Despite reports of discomfort by students, Jenkins said no one was seriously ill or taken to the hospital for treatment.