HOULTON, Maine — School may be out of session for the summer, but that does not necessarily mean that Houlton Elementary School has been empty.
Far from it, in fact, as the school was recently plagued with a bad case of fleas.
“The whole school was taken care of,” SAD 29 Superintendent Mike Hammer said. “I’m not sure how widespread they were. This is a very sensitive issue because we believe that a student brought them to school.”
Hammer said the fleas were found in rugs in one of the classrooms and brought to the gymnasium to be cleaned, but when that failed to alleviate the problem, more drastic measures were taken.
“We have to be careful with treating them,” he said. “Fred Pelletier is a certified pest management person for us and he fumigated the place last week.”
The district placed signs around the building and outside the school, including the playground, alerting the public to stay off the premises while the cleanup was taking place.
Hammer said there were no preventative plans in place to stop an infestation from happening again in the school.
“We don’t really have a pre-made plan for fleas, however we minimize the amount of rug we do keep in the school,” he said. “[Houlton Elementary School principal] Candy Crane may even plan to get rid of all carpets. We will have Fred continue to monitor the success of his efforts and we will make sure it is taken care of before students re-enter the building.”