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COVID-19 closures put pause on CPS health inspections

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Only one Columbia Public Schools elementary school was found violating the food code in a recent round of inspections. However, not all inspections have been completed this semester because of COVID-19 closures.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services inspected 10 Columbia Public Schools during the fall semester. Derby Ridge Elementary was the only one found violating the food code, with one critical violation.


According to the health department's food code, critical violations are those that relate directly to factors that could lead to foodborne illness. Any of these violations have to receive action within 72 hours or as stated on a case-by-case basis. They are more serious than non-critical violations, which relate to the maintenance of food operations and cleanliness.

On Nov. 12, inspectors reported the ice machine was soiled at Derby Ridge Elementary. However, upon reinspection on Nov. 16, the violation was corrected.

Read the list below of schools found in complete compliance with the food code:

  • Oct. 22: Fairview Elementary
  • Oct. 26: Rock Bridge Elementary
  • Nov. 10: Parkade Elementary
  • Nov. 10: Paxton Keeley Elementary 
  • Nov. 10: Russell Boulevard
  • Nov. 12: Benton STEM Elementary
  • Nov. 12: Center for Gifted Education (no in-person classes)
  • Nov. 12: Grant Elementary
  • Nov. 12: Shepard Boulevard Elementary

Kala Tomka, the environmental public health supervisor at the health department, said schools are inspected in the spring and fall semesters. 

“Inspections are still ongoing in schools as the fall semester is not yet over,” Tomka said. “However if a school is not operating, we cannot conduct inspections.”

Due to school closures, the health department has not been able to inspect any CPS middle or high schools. The entire district will spend the rest of the semester learning online.

Elementary students are set to return to the classroom on Jan. 11, while middle and high schools plan to return to in-person learning on Jan. 19 for four days per week.

ABC 17 News contacted CPS about the inspection results but has not heard back.

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Molly Stawinoga

Molly Stawinoga is ABC 17’s weekday morning anchor and a reporter at ABC 17 News. Molly joined the news team in 2017 while studying political science, journalism and Spanish at the University of Missouri. She is originally from DeKalb, Illinois.

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