Tuesday, September 24, 2013
British school closed after pupils bitten by mites in eco-roof
A school was forced to close due to an infestation of harvest mites in the classroom block's recently installed £6m grass eco-roof.
Pupils were sent home last Friday after the mites began biting them after crawling through rood vents at Walney School, Cumbria.
Fumigation teams were called to deal with the pests, which the secondary school described as "still an ongoing problem".
Dennis Laird, chair of governors at Walney School, told the North West Evening Mail: “As a result of an insect infestation, the school’s management team took the decision to close the school today at lunchtime.
“We are now working closely with the county council to resolve this issue and it is anticipated that the school will re-open on Monday as normal.
“Clearly it is not acceptable and pupils and parents will rightly expect the problem to be solved quickly.”
Walney School said the pest control company fumigated the venting systems throughout the weekend and used smoke bombs to keep the mites at bay. Acting headteacher Helen Collis admitted the problem lies "with the type of roof that has been installed", and said a council representative would be meeting with the Department for Environment to resolve the issue.
The grass eco-roof has been in place for around 12 months.
A Cumbria County Council public health spokesperson said: "Although a bite can be itchy and uncomfortable, harvest mites in the UK do not carry any diseases that present a risk to humans.
“The best way to get rid of mites on the body is a hot bath or shower, and to make sure clothes are washed at a normal temperature."
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).