Bed Bug Protocol

  • General Background

    Bed bugs are not a communicable disease.  According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), bed bugs are not considered carriers of disease and are, therefore, not a public health threat.  While bed bugs do not cause disease, they do cause property damage, skin irritation, and are expensive to control.  Bed bugs are a nuisance worldwide.

    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that bed bug infestations are rare in schools because the schools do not provide an environment where bed bugs can feed on a sleeping host.

    Commonly treated by insecticide spraying, there are several steps you can take to help protect your family from bed bugs:

    1. Know how to identify a bed bug.
    2. Conduct regular inspections for signs of an infestation.
    3. If you believe you have an infestation, contact your property owner or professional pest control company to have your home or business properly treated.

    Like mosquito bites, bed bug bites typically result in a minor skin irritation. Some people might experience a more severe allergic reaction. If you believe that you are experiencing an adverse reaction to a bed bug bite, please seek medical attention from your healthcare provider.

    For more information about bed bugs, please click on the following links provided below:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

    South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Services (DHEC)

    How to find and identify bed bugs

    Bed Bug Protocol

    If a suspected bed bug is found on a child’s clothing or in a school, efforts should be made to discretely remove and collect the specimen. The specimen should then be placed securely in a zip-lock plastic bag and/or sealed with clear tape.  Many bugs look similar to bed bugs.  In order to positively identify the bug please make every effort to keep the sample intact.

    The school Principal or designee will contact the district’s Director of Operations.  Upon confirmation that the specimen is a bed bug, the Director of Operations will notify the referring Principal or designee.

     If bed bugs are observed on a student:

    A.      The Student’s parents/guardian will be notified.

    B.      Students should not be excluded from school due to bed bugs.  It is not necessary for the student to be sent home or isolated from other students.

    C.      The student should be temporarily removed from the classroom so that the school nurse or a qualified individual can perform an inspection of the student’s clothing and other belongings including: hat, shoes, jacket, backpack, and school supplies.

    D.      Without drawing significant attention to the student, check the areas where the student sits or where belongings may have been placed for extended periods.

    E.       If multiple bed bugs are discovered on a student’s clothing or among their belongings, the items should be placed in a large zip lock plastic bag and plastic container.

    F.       Some or all of the school team (Principal, nurse, guidance counselor and social worker) will meet with the parent/guardian to provide resources and methods to reduce the spread of bed bugs in the school environment.

             i.      Suggestions include: sending only essential items to school with the student

             ii.      At home, keep school items sealed in a plastic bag or plastic storage box with lid to limit the likelihood of re-infestation.

             iii.      At home, keep clean clothes sealed in plastic storage box with a lid until the student puts them on in the morning.

    G.      If after parent notification and education the student is continuing to come to school with bed bugs on their clothing or belongings the student will need to change clothes at school in the morning into clothes that do not have bed bugs on them.

                 i.      The parent/guardian will provide a clean set of clothes including socks and shoes.

                 ii.      The student's clothes will be sealed in a bag and given to the custodian to dry on high heat for 30 minutes.  Those clothes can then be used the next morning for the student to change into until the clothing can be managed at home.

                 iii.      If a dryer is not available to treat the clothes, the clothes should be put into the plastic bag and container with a lid.

                 iv.      Place belongings (book bag, coats, etc.) in a large plastic storage bag or plastic box with lid and remove only items need for the school day.

    H.      If the problem continues, ongoing individual student case management will be provided by the school nurse, school guidance counselor, and school Social Worker.


    If bed bugs are observed in the classroom

    A. Collect specimens for positive identification.  The specimen should be placed securely in a zip-lock plastic bag and/or sealed with clear tape.  Make every effort to keep the sample intact.

    B. The school Principal or designee will contact the district’s Director of Operations.

    C. Once it has been confirmed that a bed bug has been found in the classroom, the classroom should be thoroughly vacuumed.

    i.      The room should be vacuumed on the day the insect is found and at least daily thereafter. The debris from the room should be emptied into a plastic bag, tied shut, and disposed of immediately into an outside trash container.
    ii.      In addition to vacuuming, the room will be treated the same day using an EPA approved non-toxic substance.
    iii.      This practice will continue until there is no evidence of bed bugs.

    D. Notification of other parents should only occur if a classroom infestation is identified.

    E.  Provide literature on bed bug resources and information. The district will share information on the district web page.

    Helpful Tips to Minimize Bed Bugs in the Classroom

    1. Keep the classroom, especially coat and backpack areas, as clean and free of clutter as possible.

    2. Remove any non-district issued furniture, rugs, pillows, beanbags, etc. that allow bugs to easily hide.

    3. When possible, custodians should vacuum areas where students typically store their belongings (coats and book bags) as well as the baseboards where the carpet meets the wall.