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Board of Education Statement for the Sit Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley Elementary School Incident

The Juneau School District Board of Education was appalled to learn of the food service error that occurred on June 14 and is responsible for the health and safety of students in our care. Our immediate priority is with the students impacted by the incident and ensuring their recovery and continued safety. We are fully committed to investigating the chain of events that led to the students being served floor sealant chemical in error. The Board is working to understand how this occurred and ensure we have proper safeguards in place that prevent this kind of error from happening again.

The Board of Education held a meeting on June 17 and discussed the incident with the food services contractor (Nana Management Services, 'NMS'). NMS has reinforced protocols for food service workers. Multiple agencies are involved in ongoing investigations leading up to and in response to the incident, including Juneau Police Department, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Child Care Program Office (DHSS), and Child Nutrition Programs (DEED).

The Board of Education directed the CBJ Attorney’s office to identify third party options for collating the pieces of the investigation, summarizing the events leading up to and in response to the incident, and providing recommended corrective actions to help ensure this type of incident does not occur again. We will provide timely, periodic updates as the investigation proceeds. The Juneau School District is committed to implementing all changes necessary to reassure children and families and regain trust moving forward.

Previous update on investigation released June 16, 2022:

On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, an incident resulting in students ingesting a hazardous chemical took place during breakfast food service at a Juneau School District (JSD) RALLY summer childcare program. Student health and safety is the top priority of JSD and this situation is being taken very seriously. Several children were harmed as a result, so the district is releasing a detailed account of currently available information in an effort to inform families and the public.

The Juneau School District Board of Education was appalled to learn of the food service error that occurred earlier this week. Our immediate priority is with the students impacted by the incident and ensuring their recovery and continued safety. The Board is fully committed to investigating the chain of events that led to the students being served the floor sealant chemical in error. Our students’ health and safety is of utmost importance. The Board is working to understand how this occurred and ensure we have proper safeguards in place that prevent this kind of error from happening again.

Investigations into this incident are ongoing and involve the following entities:  JSD, City and Borough of Juneau, NANA Management Services (NMS), Department of Environmental Conservation and Juneau Police Department. The school district has also been in contact with OSHA and the Department of Labor, the Department of Education and Early Development, and the Department of Health and Social Services.

The district now understands that in the spring of 2021, one pallet of floor sealant was mistakenly delivered to a JSD food commodity warehouse at the same time as four pallets of shelf stable milk. This warehouse is reserved for food items only for JSD. The pallet of floor sealant remained untouched in storage with other food products until this week when NMS ran short on milk and sent staff to retrieve shelf stable milk.

On the morning of June 14, three boxes of floor sealant were picked up from the warehouse by NMS and one was delivered to the NMS food worker at the RALLY program located at Sitʼ Eeti Shaanáx̱ (pronounced Sit Ee Tee Shanock) Glacier Valley Elementary School. The others were delivered to Harborview Elementary School and Mendenhall River Community School where they remained unopened. The boxes did not contain milk, and instead contained floor sealant.

The NMS worker took the box of floor sealant and poured its contents into cups to be served at breakfast. Breakfast was prepared by NMS staff and placed on food service trays, which students brought to a cafeteria table to eat. Shortly after breakfast was served, students complained of the “milk” tasting bad and burning their mouth/throat. RALLY and NMS staff immediately smelled and tasted the “milk” and looked at the container and labels. It was quickly discovered the "milk" served was actually a slightly scented liquid floor sealant resembling milk. Staff immediately directed students to stop consuming the substance and removed it.

Student Update

Twelve children and two adults each ingested up to 3oz of Seal 341 floor sealant. The RALLY site manager immediately contacted poison control for instructions, which included drinking water and getting medical attention if any discomfort continued. There was a delay in parent notification which was longer than it should have been. This caused families to learn about the situation from other people, which is not best practice. Students were monitored by staff and some students were taken by parents for medical treatment at Bartlett Regional Hospital or their medical provider. Notifications continued Tuesday evening to families of students who did not ingest the chemicals. Symptoms reported included headache, nausea and burning of mouth and throat. As of Wednesday evening, all 12 students are recovering, and some are fully recovered.

The district is examining emergency communication protocols for quicker parent notification. Similar  protocols for emergency communications that are used during the school year will be implemented for summer programs.

Actions taken to date

On Tuesday morning all sealant was removed from the premises. The RALLY childcare program has remained open. The food service operations have also continued with increased oversight by a NMS safety team that arrived in Juneau on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the facility and operations were inspected by the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Food Safety and Sanitation Office. DEC Food Safety approved the facility for continuing operations.

All of the floor sealant has been accounted for and secured away from food service areas. The food commodities warehouse has been inspected and contains only food items. JSD kitchens were inspected on Wednesday and have been cleared for operation.

DEC is conducting a more thorough investigation. Corrective action plans are being finalized and will be submitted to DEC on Friday. DEC will follow up with recommendations for ongoing operations.

Student health and safety is the top priority of the Juneau School District and NMS is actively working to identify and implement additional safety controls.

Summer Lunch

Summer Lunch at Shepherd of the Valley begins June 6th. Kids ages 18 and younger are invited to drop in for free lunch and activities from Noon to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The church is located at 4212 Mendenhall Loop Road. Call 907-789-4093 for more info.

This is a drop in program, not childcare.

District Office Information

District Office Hours:
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Physical Address: 1208 Glacier Avenue Juneau, Alaska

Mailing Address: 10014 Crazy Horse Drive Juneau, Alaska

Phone: (907) 523-1700

Board of Education

To contact the Board of Education, please email: schoolboard@juneauschools.org For more information about school board meetings, committees and Board of Education policies, visit the School Board page in the menu bar above.

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