A single bed bug was found on a student’s book bag at the Lorain County JVS last Thursday, prompting the school to conduct an immediate campus-wide inspection.
The search, conducted by Central Exterminating Co. of Elyria, found no other bed bugs or evidence of infestation, said Betty Halliburton, JVS director of communications.
Advice on handling the matter was also sought from the Lorain County General Health District and the Center for Disease Control.
“We alert the health district when something like this occurs and they consult us,” said Halliburton. “We go through the proper steps and then we make sure we call the exterminating company to begin the process of evaluating the premises.”
Jerry Pavlik, JVS deputy superintendent, said this is the first time a bed bug has been sighted during his time at the school but not the first time a student may have come to school after having encountered the insect.
“We had an issue about two weeks ago,” he said. “There were no bed bugs sighted but we had a student that may have had an issue. Nobody can guarantee there are no bed bugs in a public space except for the period of time you’re doing an investigation. When we have close to 1,800 students and many adults coming through the door, it’s hard to say. They can bring in a bed bug even after you completely fumigate a building.”
Pavlik added that a school is not an ideal environment for bed bug infestation because the insect thrives in cluttered, dirty spaces and prefers to feed on people who are asleep.
“Experts would say this type of environment isn’t conducive for them in the way a house or hotel room is,” he said. “Obviously there’s a protocol we use here. As soon as it was identified as a bed bug, we notified parents and took a proactive approach for preventive measures.”
The student who owned the book bag showed no signs of having been bitten and it was determined through an investigation that they had not slept anywhere new or strange recently, said Pavlik.
“There was no physical or visual evidence to suggest this individual had an issue with bed bugs,” he said. “We asked many questions through advice from the health district to see if the student had been in a hotel room in the last few days or any different sleeping environment. We received feedback that was pretty compliant, and the students and parents reaffirmed they had not been on vacation or slept at someone else’s house.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.