Flea problem leads to temporary shutdown of 2 Oakland elementary schools

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Unwelcome visitors at two co-located elementary schools in Oakland have led to a temporary shutdown for cleaning.

The problem? Fleas.

Starting Thursday, September 30, Esperanza and Korematsu Discovery Academy schools will be closed to staff and students after the fleas were found on campus.

On Monday, October 4, officials expect classes to resume.

Officials say there is a park on one side of the schools and a wooded area on the other — They have also faced problems with raccoons which experts say could have led to the flea problem.

Since mid-September, the school district and exterminators have been working to get rid of the fleas.

As the problem has continued, district officials say the temporary closure will help stop the spread and allow the treatments that have been applied time to settle — A closure is something the district would not normally do.

“We never want to close down a school, especially after the last year and a half we all experienced with COVID-19, but this is necessary to keep the school facilities safe for the Esperanza and Korematsu communities,” said OUSD Chief Systems and Services Officer, Preston Thomas. “We recognize the disruption this will cause and we apologize for it. But student and staff health and safety always come first.”

Crews will also be able to clean deeper in classrooms and common areas, in addition to removing carpets.

Short term independent study is being offered to students during the two day closure. Virtual classes are also being encouraged.

According to exterminators, the flea problem if not expected to be resolved in two days and it could take up to a month and a half.

However, students and staff should notice improvements when they return on Monday.

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