Bed bugs are not just a problem in residential buildings, offices and stores. They are also becomming a growing concern in school buildings. With hundreds or even thousands of children and employees converging on a school building each day, the potential for bringing bed bugs or eggs into the school does exist. To help deal with this concern, CCBH and the Cuyahoga County Bed Bug Task Force have created a school bed bug guidance document to assist school staff and administrators in preventing or responding to a potential bed bug infestation. A template has also been created for a letter that can be modified by school administrators prior to being emailed or printed and sent home to the parents of children who attend a school where a bed bug was found.
To help prevent or minimize the extent of a bed bug infestation, education is typically the most important element in any bed bug policy or action plan developed by school administrators. Adequate training should be provided for custodial, teaching, and nursing staff on bed bug identification. The training should include the following topics: identification of bed bugs and bed bug evidence, bed bug hiding spots and the school’s bed bug response protocol. Training can be conducted by the local health department, an entomologist, or a pest management professional that routinely deals with bed bug issues.
To help minimize the potential transfer of bed bugs or their eggs from one student’s belongings to another, it is recommended to store each student’s items (coat, backpack, lunch bag, etc.) separate from those of their classmates or in individual plastic containers labeled with the students’ names. Coats hung next to each other and lunch bags stored together in a common container provide bed bugs an opportunity to relocate and to be transported home with an unknowing student.
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