By Eugenia Jones
Before tackling routine business during their regular February meeting, McCreary County School District Superintendent Corey Keith and the McCreary County Board of Education fielded questions from parents regarding recent isolated reports of solitary bugs-possibly bedbugs-spotted in local schools. Three parents, in attendance at this week’s meeting, questioned what actions had been taken to address the problem and expressed their thoughts that parents were not notified about the pest situation in a timely manner.
In response to the parents’ questions, Superintendent Keith said initial reports he received were of singular bugs with no indication of an infestation. According to Keith, after receiving reports of isolated singular bug sightings at McCreary County Middle School in late January, an exterminator was contacted to inspect and spray areas of concern in the school. A week later, exterminators returned to inspect and treat the entire building. Exterminators did not see bedbugs on either occasion.
After receiving another report of a bug (possibly a bedbug) sighting on February 19 at McCreary Middle and isolated reports of singular bug sightings at two other schools, exterminators were once again called to inspect schools. Out of an abundance of caution, all school buildings in the District were treated earlier this week by exterminators. As an additional precaution, Keith is also consulting with exterminators on how to best treat school buses.
Keith said school districts do not typically notify parents unless there are two or more occurrences in one classroom and noted bedbugs are an issue across the state with multiple districts having/or having had issues. Keith remarked the limited occurrences in the McCreary County schools in no way constituted an infestation; however, he chose to send letters out to parents via students on February 20 and 21 to alleviate public concern.
Superintendent Keith stated he has been working with exterminators since receiving the initial reports. According to Keith, treatment of the situation has been aggressive with the treating exterminator, Michael Smith of Plateau Termite and Pest Control, commenting the District has gone “above and beyond” in addressing the problem. Keith also said the District is in the process of developing protocols to ensure school staff will follow standard, consistent practices regarding any future bug sightings. Keith also stated the Board will explore policy and procedure guidelines on how/when to notify parents in the event of a future bug dilemma.
In additional business, the Board approved tentative SBDM allocations and a Memorandum of Agreement with Somerset Community College Dual Credit for 2020-2021. The Board also authorized the Finance Department to advertise for bids for reupholstering/repairing seats in the high school auditorium.
The next meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education will be on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Board’s Central Office.