According to WCPO, Hamilton County has issued guidelines to schools regarding bed bugs, which include:
training staff to identify bed bugs; discretely removing a child from the classroom for an inspection; bagging and sealing belongings that have bed bugs; and notifying parents when their children have bed bugs.
I am troubled by the language suggesting children who “have” bed bugs carry them around on their bodies, which sounds like a description of lice.
It is possible that a person could be covered in bed bugs, but it’s important to remember that bed bugs can crawl onto or off of a person (or their belongings) at any time. They do hitchhike on clothing or in bags, but they do not live on people. They generally feed for 3-10 minutes and then flee. If a bed bug is found on a child in school, it does not mean the child brought the bed bug into school.
Places, not people, are infested with bed bugs.
The WLWT video shows Greg Kesterman of Hamilton County Public Health reminding parents to “regularly check your child” and the child’s bed for bed bugs. Not bad advice, though bed bugs could be elsewhere in the home.
I am glad that Cincinnati’s school employees and parents are thinking about bed bugs and being told what to do when they surface. I am especially happy Hamilton County parents will hear from the school if bed bugs are found there. I just hope the message is made clear to parents that bed bugs are a different kind of communicable pest, and if anyone “has” them, they have them in their home (or schoolbus, or car, or school), not “on” a kid.