MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ky. — Bullitt County students returned to class this week and our FOCUS investigative team is already looking at reports cards from health inspectors.
These reports are like pop quizzes for the school buildings. Each school is graded based on critical and non-critical violations and given an overall score.
Most of the data we were able to collect from schools in Bullitt County was from 2019. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it not only kicked kids out of school but also affected how the health department conducted inspections.
Chad Lynch, the environmental health director with the Bullitt County Health Department, said the department still responded to complaints while schools were in session, but routine visits were put on hold.
"As a health inspector, though, we're always looking for those safety issues every time we're in there," Lynch explained.
In Kentucky, health inspectors use a grading scale from 0 to 100. Points are deducted for both critical and non-critical violations.
According to Lynch, a score of 85 and above is considered a passing grade. If a school receives a score below 85, it has 30 days to fix the violations. If a school receives a critical violation, corrective action must be taken within ten days.
Health Inspectors not only check for food safety but also examine the entire building. Inspectors have a curriculum that includes checking lighting, bathrooms, sewage, and waste disposal.
What we found
The lowest score FOCUS found in the Bullitt County Public School district was a 72 at Bullitt East High School, reported in 2019.
Inspectors found sewage backup in gym locker rooms, showers and training rooms. They noted there were dirty toilets and sinks, and missing toilet paper in the girls' and boys' locker rooms.
"That's one of those critical violations that need to be fixed right away," Lynch explained. "It was addressed pretty quickly."
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In 2019, an enforcement notice at Nichols Elementary was filed after the school failed to correct a critical violation -- no hot running water because of a broken hot water heater.
"You gotta have warm water to wash your hands, and obviously for dishes," Lynch said. "They weren't pushing to get that done as soon as possible. If you don't correct within a certain amount of time, we have to issue an enforcement notice. If you don't correct that, we can suspend permits."
Lynch tells us the hot water heater was replaced after the enforcement notice.
How other schools scored
Our research revealed every other school passed food and facility inspections in 2019. Of the few schools inspected in 2020, each scored 92 or higher.
The most recently available inspection data from the Bullitt County Health Department is listed below. If more than one score is noted, it means inspectors performed a follow-up inspection.
To review the full inspection reports, contact your health department and request to see the food establishment inspection report and the school inspection report.
FOOD ESTABLISHMENT SCORES
SCHOOL FACILITY INSPECTION SCORES
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