GLEN ELLYN – "A light case of bed bugs" has been discovered at Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn after a single insect was found in a classroom Oct. 31, according to an email from Glen Ellyn School District 41 Superintendent Paul Gordon.
After the first bug was found, the room was inspected and cleaned, and carpet and other soft items were thrown away, according to a separate email from Hadley Principal Steve Diveley.
A pest control company brought in the morning of Nov. 1 initially found no other bed bugs, the email said.
However, another company that specializes in bed bugs inspected Hadley on Nov. 2 and found additional bugs, Gordon said in the email. The areas with bugs were treated.
These spaces included classrooms 137, 138, 139, 140, 141 and 120B, as well as the school's basement classrooms, gyms, locker rooms and Library Media Center.
Next weekend, the company will treat the entire building, as well as all portables, with a "safe, organic product," the email said. Before then, Hadley staff and students will declutter the school so that it can be effectively treated.
"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," Gordon said in the email.
Non-essential items at Hadley, such as pillows, rugs and blankets, will be thrown away or bagged and removed from the building. Although discarding the items will be encouraged, the school will provide information regarding the appropriate way for students to bring them home to decrease the risk of infesting houses or re-infesting the school.
Students will be given bags Nov. 4 to remove their gym uniforms, which were treated in the locker rooms. Although they are safe to wear, families may prefer to wash the uniforms first, the email said.
Physical education classes will be modified so that students can participate in their street clothes.
In addition to bringing home their gym clothes, Hadley students also will clear out their lockers.
Children whose parents keep them out of school until the building has been treated will have their absences excused, according to the email.
"It’s impossible to know how the bugs got into the school" Gordon said in the email. "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,"
The district's response plan is based on government guidelines and advice from the pest control company that discovered the infestation, according to the email.
The email shared information about bed bugs, including the following:
• Bed bugs do not transmit disease to people. Sensitivity to bug bites differ among people.
• 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 airplanes and can travel along with luggage, clothing and other items. They hide in various small spaces and crevices.
• The bugs are nocturnal and prefer dark places. They can live for long periods without food.