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D-41 treats Hadley for bed bugs, plans monthly inspections district-wide

Published: Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 1:59 p.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – After a light case of bed bugs was discovered at Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn, the entire school, including portables, was treated Nov. 9.

Four classrooms were treated with heat, which kills bed bugs and their eggs, while the remainder of the school received targeted pesticide treatments to crevices and outlets, where bed bugs often hide, said Julie Worthen, the district's director of communications and grants.

While the problem appears to be taken care of for now, bugs could enter the building again on a person or package, Worthen said.

However, Glen Ellyn School District 41 plans to implement monthly bed bug inspections at all of its schools to ensure a quick response if bugs ever reappear.

"We're as comfortable as we can be at this time," she said.

A single bed bug was discovered by a student Oct. 31 in a Hadley classroom. An inspection Nov. 2 revealed another live bed bug, as well as several dead bugs and bug debris, according to an email sent to district families.

The affected areas, including classrooms 137, 138, 139, 140, 141 and 120B, as well as the school's basement classrooms, gyms, locker rooms and Library Media Center, were treated Nov. 2, another email said.

Last week, students and staff decluttered the school to decrease the number of hiding places for bed bugs and to allow the building to be effectively treated.

This included throwing away or removing rugs, pillows, blankets and other non-essential soft items.

Several dumpsters were filled as part of these efforts, Worthen said.

"The staff really rose to the occasion," she said. "It's hard to get rid of your stuff, but we did it."

The district also plans to extend decluttering efforts to its other schools, Worthen said.

Inspections by pest management technicians and a trained dog continued Nov. 5 through 7.

These inspections did not uncover any additional live bugs. The classrooms where the dog showed a heightened interest but did not definitively indicate the presence of bugs were treated with heat, Worthen said. These classrooms were areas where hints of bed bugs had previously been found.

In addition to efforts at Hadley, 35 school buses also were treated, and the district's four elementary schools were checked for bugs, which were not found, she said. Hadley was cleaned by custodial staff after the bug treatments Nov. 9.

On average, Hadley sees about 60 student absences every day, according to Worthen. Last week, 160 students stayed home Nov. 4, 234 students did not attend school Nov. 5 and 330 students were absent Nov. 6. School was not in session Nov. 7 and 8.

In a message to district families Nov. 5, Superintendent Paul Gordon said he appreciated the support the district had received from staff, parents and the community.

"Thank you for your patience and cooperation in this matter as we work to resolve this issue," Gordon said.

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