They’re going to school in increasing numbers this year, and this is one population the educators don’t welcome. Bedbugs! It should come as no surprise that the blood sucking pests would find their way into the classroom, having already infiltrated hotels, homes and retail establishments in record numbers.
So far this school year, the New York City Schools- in session a mere 3 weeks- have already logged 22 calls about bedbugs in the classroom. Last year the New York Education Dept. recorded more than 1,000 such complaints, the New York Times reported.
New York is not alone in its effort to keep bedbugs out of school. The Central Ohio Bedbug Task Force has placed its school nurses on bedbug patrol and encourages schools to send letters home to parents when bedbugs are spotted in a classroom. The sample letters advise parents to look for linear bites on exposed parts of the body. The letters also reassure parents that bedbug bites are not to be a health threat.Michigan’s bedbug policy advises that when a bedbug is found on a student or a student’s belongings, the student should be discreetly removed from the classroom for inspection of clothing and other belongings. Letters to parents advise that a bedbug was found on their child and requiring the parent to sign a certification stating “I understand that bedbugs pose a threat to my child’s well-being and to the greater school community.” The parent then certifies that the home has been inspected and indicates whether or not bedbugs were found.
Chicago also has reported finding bedbugs at one of its high schools. According to CBS 2, 7 of the critters were spotted within a two and a half week period.
In Bloomington, Ind., Arlington Heights Elementary held a meeting for parents to discuss bedbug eradication after several were discovered in the school. They hope to do away with the bed bugs before their population reaches the infestation level.
Some schools take more extreme approaches when bedbugs are found inside classrooms. A South Kentucky school temporarily banned backpacks and lunchboxes pending a visit by an exterminator. Cincinnati policy requires student belongings to be sealed in plastic bags upon detection of bedbugs in a school.
Children may be curious about these new unwanted classmates called bed bugs. At a national bed bug summit recently, one of the aims was to develop a bed bug curriculum. Teachers eager to explore bed bug lesson plans in the meantime might be interested in University of California at Berkeley’s lesson plan based on bed bug evolution or breakingnewsenglish’s bed bug lesson plan that asks children to write a magazine article about life in the day of a pest control worker, including an imaginary interview with the pest.