On Friday, Hadley Principal Steve Diveley wrote to you to let you know we had found a bed bug in the school and were bringing in a bed bug expert to assess the situation. Saturday, a pest control company examined the building and told us that Hadley has a light case of bed bugs. It has treated the areas where bed bugs were observed; next weekend it will treat the whole building including portables using a safe, organic product. In creating our response plan, we used government guidelines and the advice of our pest control company, which has worked with many schools.
Before next weekend, staff and students at Hadley have a lot of work to do to de-clutter the school so that the treatment can reach into all the areas where bed bugs like to hide. If we don't de-clutter, the building cannot be effectively treated. This process will take time and despite our best efforts is likely to inconvenience almost everyone. I ask for your patience, support and understanding that we are doing this so that we can be confident Hadley is clear of these pests. Before going into some details, here are a few things I've learned about bed bugs:
-Bed bugs are a nuisance but do not transmit disease to people; some people are highly sensitive to bites, others not at all.
-Bed bugs affect dwellings at all income levels and are not a sign of hygiene or sanitation problems, although clutter does provide hiding places for the bugs.
-They can be found in homes, apartment buildings, movie theaters, hotels, cruise ships and even airplanes and can travel along with luggage, on clothing, packages and so forth. They hide in crevices, in seams of furniture, in picture frames, behind baseboards, under carpets and rugs, and travel along electrical conduits.
-The bugs are nocturnal and hide in dark places, and can live for long periods with no food.
-It's impossible to know how the bugs got into the school: they can be transported by staff, students, parents, visitors, or other organizations that use the building, and can be hiding in boxes or bags that are delivered to the school.
-Bed bugs are a national problem (Chicago was recently named #1 for bed bugs).
The following spaces were treated on Saturday, Nov. 2: classrooms 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 120B, the basement classrooms, the gyms and locker rooms, and the Library Media Center and its associated spaces.
We have a short week next week due to conferences. During the week, we will get rid of non-essential stuff. Things like pillows, rugs, blankets, and so forth will have to be discarded or bagged and taken home. We will be urging people to discard rather than risk infesting their homes, which could then re-infest the school; however, if people do take items home, we will provide them with information on how to do so appropriately.
On Monday, we will give students bags in which to take home their gym uniforms. These uniforms have been treated as part of the locker room treatment and are safe to wear, but we feel that everyone would prefer to wash these items before wearing them again. While it's unlikely any live bed bugs will remain in the gym clothes, as a precaution we advise first putting the gym clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes on high, washing them, then drying them again. The PE teachers will have an alternate plan in place for class so that students can participate in their street clothes.
Students will also be given time to clear out their lockers, either discarding things or bagging them and taking them home. Again, we will urge them to discard non-essential items and provide instructions on how to take things home appropriately. They will also take home their lock so that lockers can be left open for treatment on Saturday.
This is a learning process for all of us. I especially don't want to alarm our students. Hadley staff will be matter-of-fact about it and explain to them that this is a common problem and no one's fault, and that we acted fast to take care of it. We'll have some disruption and then get right back to normal. Parents who wish to keep their children at home until the building has been treated have that option as an excused absence.
Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.
Dr. Paul Gordon, Superintendent