6:00: Morning News

Roane superintendent says bat infestation handled delicately

SPENCER, W.Va. — School officials are typically ready for a range of situations their school might face on a day to day basis. However, in Roane County, Richard Duncan, superintendent of schools admitted, bats in his school was definitely a curve ball.

When the critters were noticed earlier in the week at Spencer Elementary, maintenance crews ran them out of the building. But, they didn’t realize how the bats were gaining access to begin with, so the problem kept repeating itself.

“Early on there may not have been as many bats as we thought, a lot of them may have been ‘repeat customers’ I guess,” he said on MetroNews “Talkline” Tuesday.

Several dead bats were also discovered in the building. The striation presented quite a dilemma. Bats are known to harbor and carry disease like rabies, but on the other hand, they are a threatened species and must be handled with care.

“That’s why we brought in professionals. We certainly wanted to clean out the building and encourage the bats to leave, but it wasn’t a simple eradication because of that protected status,” Duncan said.

As of Tuesday,. no live bats had been seen in the building in a couple of days. A professional team sealed up as many openings in the building as they could find and in some cases created what were essentially trap doors so the bats could leave unencumbered, but not get back into the building.

The school will be open and on a regular schedule Wednesday. The Roane County Health Department determined Tuesday afternoon the building was safe from any potential disease threat.



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