Thousands of bats found in MO school gym - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Thousands of bats found in MO school gym

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) -

Some Fredericktown, Missouri students are having to go elsewhere for P.E. class as a large colony of bats takes up residence in the gym.

The superintendent at Fredericktown Schools said what they originally thought was just a few bats turned out to be thousands. Now, district leaders are working to get these unwanted guests out.

The winged things have worked their way inside through tiny holes and into the gym. Elementary School Principal Joe Clauser said while they have been aware of the problem for a while now, it’s gotten worse.

“They were above the ceiling. This is the first time we have seen them below the ceiling,” Clauser said.

After a maintenance worker snapped the picture attached to this article, a bat removal specialist came to take a look.

“He said what he saw looked more like thousands of bats,” Clauser said.

On August 19, parents got a letter explaining the gym will be closed.

“I was surprised. I don’t think we’ve ever had a bat problem in our school,” Kelsi Tinsley said.

Tinsley has two boys at the school.

“They were kind of upset about not being able to use the gym but they understood that the school was doing everything they could to take care of it,” Clauser said.

According to Clauser, removing the bats and cleaning up after them could be a long process.

“What he’s going to do is plug the holes that are existing in the building. He will put in some exclusionary devices which will allow the bats to go out at night but they won’t be able to go back in,” Clauser said.  

In the meantime, students are going outside for P.E. and using extra classroom space when it rains.

“So, we will be able to keep them active, they won’t be sitting,” Clauser said.

Clauser said evidence inside the gym shows that this problem didn’t pop up overnight.

“This is the board that was taken off and the brown spot is the oil that came off of the wings and fur of the bats. They’ve probably been in there for some time,” Clauser said.

While there has not been a bat problem found in the cafeteria, district leaders are going to have some preventative work done just to make sure this bat problem doesn’t spread.

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