Two Bay Area schools closed after ‘apocalyptic’ flea outbreak

An infection of the forced flea Oakland Unified School District to temporarily close two schools for pest cleaning and extermination.

District officials suspected raccoons in the area were carrying fleas to two afflicted schools, Esperanza Elementary and Korematsu Discovery Academy, which share a campus in East Oakland. By closing schools, OUSD hopes it will limit the spread of runways across campus, which borders a park and a “wooded area” on each side.

“It will allow crews to conduct a deeper cleanup of all classrooms and common areas, including removing all carpets where fleas have taken up residence and laying their eggs,” the district said in a statement.

The “bug problem” will not be resolved immediately, the district warns, due to the length of time the extermination process takes – almost a month and a half.

Teachers and parents themselves are frustrated by school officials, according to TV station reports, for their failure to act actively.

“They were just covered in fleas from their shoulders down to their ankles, more fleas than I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Kathryn Wilson, a fifth-grade teacher at Esperanza Elementary, told KGO. “It was like apocalyptic proportions.”

Wilson added that teachers threatened “not to appear” before they could get substantial help with the flea problem.

Esperanza Elementary and Korematsu Discovery Academy are closed for the rest of the week, and students will receive homework packages meanwhile.

“We recognize this chaos is causing and we apologize for it,” OUSD system chief and service officer Preston Thomas said in a statement. “But health and staffing and safety always come first.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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