UPDATE: Tolsia High School Dismisses Early Due to Bed Bugs; No School Friday

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UPDATE 9/10/15 @ 6:13 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Students at Tolsia High School are probably feeling a bit "itchy" and "scratchy" after they were sent home from school because of bed bugs.

School leaders in Wayne County said the bugs were first found Wednesday upstairs in the school.

Thursday morning, they found even more.

Students were sent home just after 1 p.m.

Tolsia High School students headed home Thursday, not because of bad weather but because of bed bugs.

"I didn't really know what to think, it was that scary, itchy feeling, you don't know what you're going to think," said Skylar Huff, a junior at the school.

School leaders gave about 400 students a short school day after finding the pesky pests two days in a row, in two different places at the school.

They also said several live bed bugs were brought to the front office in plastic bags.

It's unclear exactly where they came from.

"I was kind of surprised there'd be an epidemic of bed bugs in the school," said Billy Huff, Skylar's grandfather.

According to Danny Mayo, the Director of Secondary Education, the bed bugs were first found upstairs at the school Wednesday.

He said exterminators were called in to check out the school, but didn't find anything.

However, the bugs were found again in a different area downstairs Thursday.

Mayo said the school has been working with a county-wide nurse and the health department to ensure everyone's safety and health.

"It was a pretty big scare, everybody was talking about it," Huff said.

The school sent a letter home with students telling them to watch for clusters of bites, usually in a line.

Mayo also called in exterminators Thursday to spray pesticides where the bugs were found, meaning no school for those students Friday and a long weekend.

School leaders said the treatment period requires a 24-hour evacuation.

"I'm glad to get to stay home, yes, but for this sort of problem, no," Huff said.

For parents, the concern now is what do to next.

"I don't know if there's anything medical we need to do, or just, possibly check at him, check himself, whatever when we get home," Huff said.

A bug problem school leaders, students and parents hope will buzz off.

School leaders said to contact a doctor if you see anything raising concern.

Mayo also said he believes the staff at Tolsia High School did an outstanding job handling the situation.

He also said they've never had an issue like this before.

Mayo said school will be back in session Monday.

If you find bed bugs at home, the Environmental Protection Agency said there are several ways to get rid of them.

Beyond pesticides, they said you can remove clutter, use vacuums and heating and steam devices.

To visit the EPA's website about bed bugs click the link to the right.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this story.


ORIGINAL STORY 9/10/15 @ 3:37 p.m.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Tolsia High School in Wayne County dismissed students early Thursday due to bed bugs, according to the Wayne County Board of Education.

The spokesperson tells WSAZ the school will be treated between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday. The treatment process takes around 24 hours. Because of this, Tolsia High School will be closed Friday.

This is the only school in Wayne County affected.

Danny Mayo, Director of Secondary Education tells WSAZ, the bed bug issue was first brought to their attention Wednesday. An exterminating company inspected the school and did not find any live bugs, so it was determined students and staff would be safe to attend school the next day. However, two live bed bugs were brought to the office in a plastic bag Thursday morning, so school officials decided to dismiss classes early.

The high school will also be closed Friday. School officials tells us everything will resume as normal Monday.

Officials contacted a county-wide nurse and the Health Department. Together, they send the following letter home with students explaining the situation:

"Recently, bed bugs were identified at Tolsia High School. Bed bugs are a nuisance but their bites do not spread disease. Bed bugs are usually active at night and feed on human blood. The bite does not hurt at first but it may become swollen and itch, much like a mosquito bite. Watch for clusters of bites, usually in a line, on exposed areas of the body. If you have concerns for you or your child, please contact your doctor.
The source of bed bugs often cannot be determined, as bed bugs may be found in many places and can hitchhike from one place to another. Even though it is unlikely for bed bugs to infest schools, Tolsia High School has conducted an identification and inspection process. The school Integrated Pest Management Plan is being carried out in the areas where the bed bugs were identified. This plan includes the employment of the Standard Exterminating Company to treat all affected areas and inspect the entire school area. We are concerned for the health and safety of all students and employees, therefore, school will be closed on Friday, September 11, 2015 during the treatment process. School will resume on Monday, September 14, 2015 on the usual schedule. Tolsia High School will continue to be vigilant for additional bed bugs, provide thorough inspections of the facility, and have licensed pest management specialists assist with pest issues whenever they arise.
Contact your physician, school nurse, or your local Health Department for proper care and treatment of bed bug bites."

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