PARMA, Ohio– The playground is quiet, the bike rack is empty, and the doors are closed at Thoreau Park Elementary in Parma after bed bugs were discovered in the building. It’s part of a growing trend of bed bugs in schools.
A teacher reported possible bed bugs to administrators at the conclusion of the school day Friday, according to the Parma City School District.
“There were certain areas that were suspected of having bed bugs, so those areas are being treated,” said Parma Schools Supervisor of Public Relations Dan Rajkovich.
Rajkovich said pest control experts used a dog to confirm bed bugs at several locations in the school on Sunday, and then the district notified parents that classes would be canceled Monday via phone calls and email. A pest control company treated for the bugs, which can be done using chemicals or heat.
“We want to make sure our kids and our staff are as safe as possible so the decision was made to cancel school today to treat those affected areas in the building,” Rajkovich said.
Cuyahoga County Board of Health Sanitarian Tom Barsa said bed bug occurrences in local schools have been rising over the last two years, with about two different schools reporting bed bugs to the agency each month.
Bed bugs don’t transmit disease, but they are a nuisance. Health experts said bed bugs are excellent hitch hikers, typically brought from home to schools by students on clothing or in back packs. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has resources about bed bugs in schools. CLICK HERE for details.
Parma Schools sent a letter to parents reminding them to check for bed bugs at home to keep this from happening again, but the district isn’t saying if anyone was bitten.
According to the school’s website, Thoreau Park will be open at its regular time on Tuesday.