Mites and dead birds’ at Harrington Sound
Harrington Sound Primary School’s Parent Teacher Association has called an urgent meeting to tackle the ongoing problem of bird mites.
Children and teachers have been bitten and dead birds were found in the roof during an initial clean-up attempt.
Students were taken out of school on Monday and Tuesday due to the infestation, caused by birds nesting in the roof.
According to a PTA executive spokesperson, the Ministry of Education sent a letter afterwards saying that the school should be clean and comfortable.
However, the PTA said that they had received more reports of mites on Thursday.
The spokesperson told The Royal Gazette: “They didn’t tent the school as they initially said they were going to. They fumigated some of the classrooms and the commissioner thought that we should find the school clean and comfortable.
“However, we have found more mites, even just today. Something else needs to be done. That is why the PTA is calling an emergency meeting, because they want all parents to be aware and be involved. We also had a meeting with the teachers today.
“The holes were cleared up, some of the nests and some of the dead birds. The children didn’t see the dead birds because they were up in the ceilings — they were found when they went up to clean that area.
“There were some complaints on Thursday. We are hoping something will transpire over the weekend and that they can eradicate this for good. A few of the children have bites — I don’t have numbers but a few, and they are itchy.
“I know of two teachers who have been bitten. Health and safety is our main concern and we want to get something done.”
The emergency meeting is due to take place on Monday at the school’s auditorium at 6pm.
The PTA put out a general statement to parents and guardians today saying: “Come place your concerns about the health and safety of our children and how we can find a solution to these major issues.
“If you cannot attend, please send a grandparent, family member or a friend, as we believe your support in this matter is imperative to the wellbeing of our student body.”
Announcing the two-day closure last week, education commissioner Freddie Evans said: “While the mites are not harmful to humans, we wish to safeguard the health of students and staff as the mites could trigger allergies or asthma.”
Dr Evans said yesterday that he had been in contact with the acting principal and had followed up with an independent pest control company to give further assessment.
“Since Thursday, May 11, the ministry facility team and an independent pest control company have completed an assessment of the outside of the building and identified possible areas of intrusion by birds,” said Dr Evans.
“These areas were subsequently blocked up to prevent any further intrusion and an assessment of all ceiling spaces was conducted throughout the entire site.
“Active bird nests were found on the third floor of the main building. These nests and dead birds were removed from the site.
“Any spaces in rooms that had open spaces in the ceilings due to missing ceiling tiles were repaired and suitable replacements installed. This was in preparation for the fogging on May 15.
“On Monday, Bermuda Pest Control conducted a fogging treatment to those rooms where nests were identified. Spaces in classrooms above and below ceiling tiles were fogged to eliminate any remaining bird mites.
“After 4pm, and once fumes dissipated, custodians carried out a thorough wipe down of classes that were fogged. Additionally, custodians were instructed to wipe down and disinfect all hard surfaces throughout the site and vacuum carpeted areas. These were works continued through May 16 in preparation for school opening on May 17.
“The Ministry is awaiting an additional report from the pest control company and will provide an update for the PTA meeting on Monday.”
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