Bedbugs Found at Hamilton Avenue School

Greenwich school officials aim to rid school of pests.

officials are dealing with "isolated incidents" of bedbugs at .

"They've had four isolated incidents," said school spokesman Kim Eves. "They found a dead one at the end of October, give or take (a few days), one last week, one the week before and one a week before that." She added, "It's not necessarily a health hazard ... but we're trying not to spread them. It's not a concern in terms of disease."

According to EverydayHealth.com, "Bedbugs are not thought to transmit diseases," however, they can bite and cause skin irritations.

The existence of the bugs was discovered "in the carpet on the floor. A class was sitting on the floor for a discussion ... they bagged it and brought it to the health department," Eves said.

As of last night, the school district administration had not decided whether it will proceed with a plan to steam-clean the school during the winter break that begins Friday afternoon, according to Eves. In the interim, when a bug has been found and sent to the for testing, the affected classrooms were treated after an inspection from Parkway Pest Services which uses trained dogs to sniff out the bugs, according to Eves.

The inspections and treatments were conducted after students left the school, Eves said.

School officials held an informational meeting with parents on Dec. 15 and have them sent notification via the ParentLink information system. "The parent forum on Thursday was to tell parents how to deal with the situation at home," Eves said. She said about 30 to 35 parents attended the session

"It's one or two families involved," Eves added. Two, possibly three classes are involved, she said.

One of the incidents involved finding a bed bug on a student backpack. Eves said that since the first incident in October, school personnel check each student daily before they're admitted to classes. The students in the affected classes must place their belongings — coats, hats, gloves — in plastic garbage bags. The rest of the students in the school at 360-plus student school on Hamilton Avenue, must keep their belongings in their backpacks. It was unclear whether the mandate also applied to school personnel and teachers.

When approached outside the school Monday dismissal, school personnel said, "We can't talk."

Well, talk is what a few parents said they hope school officials would do. "They need to be more informative. It's on the school website," said one mother, who would not give her name, as she waited for second-grade daughter. "There are so many rumors ... it's the same family bringing in something. It's coming from home. They have to help those people whose house it's coming from," the woman said.

Another mother, with two children in pre-K and first-grade, said, "Hopefully it will be controlled soon. ... We are concerned about what they're using." Her daughter's pre-K class was one of the groups affected, she said. "Obviously you want it to be treated but we are concerned about the children. We are worried about what they use to treat it," she added.

As Mark Mantione waited for his two sons, he said, he received the pre-recorded informational calls from the school administration. "We looked but we didn't find any" bed bugs.

Eves said, "the only thing parents can do is check their kids before they leave home in the morning and check them when they come home." Eradicating bedbugs from the home include thorough cleaning, vacuuming of bedrooms, furniture and linens which should be treated at temperatures of at least 112 degrees, according to EverydayHealth.com.


Richard Pollack December 20, 2011 at 11:49 AM
Bed bugs can arrive at school within the book bags of students, as well as the purses, briefcases and possessions of teachers and administrators. The strategy to inspect the belongings of students should be abandoned, as it is time consuming and burdensome, won't likely prevent entry of bed bugs to the school, and it won't do anything for the bugs already within the school. If the inspection policy is maintained, it should be expanded to include school personnel. I caution the school administrators and the parents to take great care before they label an insect as a bed bug. Quite often, bugs observed in school (and in the home) are not bed bugs. In those cases, the treatments and concern are unjustified and wasteful. Similarly, one should be skeptical of the use of dogs, no matter how well trained, to detect bed bugs. More educational information about bed bug biology and management is readily available at https://identify.us.com. We also help by providing rapid, independent, confidential and expert evaluations of presumed bed bugs (and lice, ticks and other pests), as well as of digital images that can be submitted securely online. Richard Pollack, PhD IdentifyUS LLC
Leslie Yager December 20, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Years ago parents volunteered to do head lice checks after vacation in Greenwich public elementary schools. My understanding was the policy ended due to privacy concerns. It may become tricky to balance privacy and safety if there's a bedbug outbreak.
Richard Pollack December 20, 2011 at 07:00 PM
Leslie, Quite right, those head 'checks' ended for many reasons. Violating the confidentiality of the kids was one, but those performing the task lacked proper expertise and equipment, and the effort was not scientifically or medically justified. The school administrators would be wise to draft a policy or protocol to manage bed bugs, mosquitoes, lice, fleas, cockroaches, etc. The protocol might ensure that the correct kind of pest is targeted, and the means to intervene are practical, justified and offer more benefit than risk.
GreenLouise December 21, 2011 at 03:53 AM
Greenbug for People kills and repels bed bugs as well as head lice. These are already commonplace and only going to become more prevalent. If you don't want these pests, spray Greenbug on backpacks and jackets before school to repel. Before entering the home, thoroughly inspect belongings and lightly spray with Greenbug for People to kill any bugs as well as their eggs. It is safe, natural and university proven to kill 100%. I highly recommend it and am SO GLAD we found out about it. www.greenbugallnatural.com


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