On Friday, Feb. 10 through Sunday, Feb. 12 Central Valley School District will inspect each of the district’s school buildings for the possible presence of bedbugs.
The action is in response to a student posting on social media of the blurred image of an insect found at Central Valley Academy on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
“We met with the student and he has second thoughts after seeing online pictures of actual bedbugs. The insect he photographed appears much larger than a bedbug,” said Superintendent Rich Hughes.
Dr. Hughes said the district emailed the image to Cornell University’s Insect Diagnostic Lab on Wednesday, hoping for confirmation, but the lab could not identify the specimen due to the image quality.
Without firm identification, the district decided to move ahead inspecting all school buildings. Professionals from Orkin will conduct a thorough search of each building using specially trained dogs.
“We believe the investment is worth everyone’s peace of mind,” Dr. Hughes said.
“From the moment the first image was posted, we began receiving calls from concerned parents. We notified the school community via our School Messenger system of the possible problem and the steps we were taking to determine whether we had an issue.”
He said rumors and misinformation continued despite attempts to keep all stakeholders notified. People wanted more information, but the district had nothing new to share until now.
“It wasn’t instant, but just 24 hours after learning of the insect, we have signed our contract with Orkin and have a schedule for the inspection. We will notify our community of the results and plans for treatment, if needed,” he said.
He praised school administrators and office staff for fielding the steady flow of frightened and sometimes angry phone calls.
“In particular, CVA principal Rich Keeler and his office spent hours informing and calming parents and staff. They did a stellar job managing this,” Dr. Hughes said.
Only custodial staff may be in the buildings during inspection. District staff are notifying groups that normally use school facilities on weekends of any scheduling conflicts. Dr. Hughes said he hopes any inconvenience will be overshadowed by the need to complete the inspections as quickly as possible. Following is the schedule:
- 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10—Harry M. Fisher and Barringer Road elementary schools
- 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11—Gregory B. Jarvis Middle School
- 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12—Central Valley Academy