If you are a school administrator or worried parent dealing with bats in school buildings, don’t worry! I’m sharing the 6 steps you need to take to solve this problem.
I’ve worked with dozens of schools from Washington and Oregon, to Colorado, Mississippi, and Delaware – all over really! Bat exclusion from schools is one of the most complex and challenging features of the bat removal industry.
Why are Bats in Schools Harder to Manage?
School buildings are no more difficult to exclude from than other structures we work in. But everything else about the situation can make it more difficult and dangerous.
- Children are naturally curious and will want to touch or catch bats that they see, increasing rabies risks.
- School reputations are on the line, especially when angry or frightened parents get the press involved.
- The school can’t easily be shut down or vacated if there is a rabies threat.
- There are strict health and safety regulations to conform to.
- Insurance and liability claims can be confusing and complicated.
What you need to do:
Step 1) Always take a complaint or bat sighting seriously.
If the administration ignores a complaint, it is a recipe for a disgruntled employee or parent. That’s when I see the press get involved. If a staff member or parent says they have seen or heard bats, please verify it! The same goes for the students at your school. Listen to them.
Step 2) Verify that you have bats.
Sometimes it’s as simple as staying at the school until dusk and watching for bats to begin their nightly hunts.You can also do a bat watch with a video camera to record bat activity. If you feel you have some evidence of a bat colony in your school, give me a call and one of our bat technicians will inspect it.
Step 3) Hire Get Bats Out to exclude the bats from your school.
Bat activity typically increases during exclusion because they try to find other entry points to the building before they give up and relocate. They might even fly into open windows and doors. This can be frightening for those who have a fear of bats. It can also be disruptive to the teachers and students.
I am willing to work with you on a weekend or during other school breaks to minimize public exposure to this increased bat activity.
Step 4) Get Bats Out helps with publicity and image control.
Usually these scenarios break down into two categories. With one, the school is trying to deal with the bat colony as quickly and quietly as possible. In this situation, I send my technicians to the location in plain vans and maintenance uniforms on a weekend. Discretion is of utmost importance.
In the other scenario, the press has been notified and the school is usually being criticized and under increased pressure to remove the bats. I can give statements at press conferences, submit press releases, and even put signs up on school property. All of these work together as evidence that the school is proactively dealing with the problem.
I will come in full Get Bats Out gear and emphasize the work the school is doing to keep the students and teachers safe.
Step 5) Follow my guidelines for several weeks following the exclusion.
A classic mistake that schools make is to slacken in their vigilance in the weeks following a bat colony removal. I can get the bats out, but they will check back periodically before permanently relocating. That means, if they find a way in, your problem may start all over again.
Some of my guidelines for the weeks following an exclusion are quite simple. For example, keeping doors and windows shut.
Unfortunately, more than once I’ve have schools call me saying that there are still bats in their gym. After reviewing the security tapes, it’s revealed that the coach propped the door open during practice and let some bats back in.
Please follow these instructions very carefully!
Step 6) Keep your school bat-free with an annual maintenance program.
I recommend an annual maintenance inspection in the early spring. Each maintenance plan is specific to your school (buildings, roof materials, location, weather, bat species, etc). I check for damage to the building or roof during the last year that could potentially let bats back in.
One option for schools is having their staff trained to do these inspections themselves. I or one of my technicians can do this training. This is an affordable alternative to having Get Bats Out visit your school each year.
In either case, continued maintenance inspections are a simple, easy way to protect your school from future bat infestations.
The fact of the matter is that, in all my years excluding bats from schools, it’s clear that the safety of the students is the #1 priority for school principals and administrators.
Let me help you in your endeavor to educate and protect your students. Click the link below to download our free informational guide to deal with your bats in schools problem correctly.
Your local bat removal expert,