Two Bay Area Schools Closed After ‘Apocalyptic’ Flea Outbreak

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A flea infestation forced the Oakland Unified School District to temporarily close two schools for pest cleanup and extermination.

District officials suspect that area raccoons have brought fleas to the two affected schools, Esperanza Elementary and Korematsu Discovery Academy, which share a campus in East Oakland. By closing the schools, OUSD hopes to limit the spread of fleas on campus, which borders a park and a “woodland” on either side.

“This will allow teams to thoroughly clean all classrooms and common areas, including removing all rugs where fleas have made their home and laid their eggs,” the district said in a statement.


The “flea problem” will not be solved immediately, warns the district, because of the time taken for the extermination process – nearly a month and a half.

Teachers and parents are frustrated with school officials, according to TV reports, for their inability to act proactively.

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

Wilson added that the teachers threatened to “not show up” until they could get substantial help with the flea problem.

Esperanza Primary School and Korematsu Discovery Academy are closed for the rest of the week and students will receive homework kits in the meantime.

“We recognize the disruption this will cause and apologize for it,” Preston Thomas, OUSD systems and services manager, said in a statement. “But the health and safety of students and staff always comes first.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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