Rabies confirmed in dead bat on Bryant campus

Staff Writer

Bryant High School has been experiencing issues with bats in the exterior portion of Building 10. Thursday, the Arkansas Department of Health confirmed rabies in a dead bat found on the school grounds.
After speaking with students and watching surveillance, administrators determined only one student came in possible contact with the bat. The parents of the student were notified and confirmed the student did not touch the animal.
The Arkansas Department of Health followed up with the parent and student and is working to notify all parents of Bryant High School students, said Devin Sherrill, communications director for the district.
Today, at noon, more than 70 feet of scaffolding will be erected to reach the area and remove the bats.
"Since bats are a protected species, care is being taken to follow all guidelines," said Devin Sherrill, communications director for the district. "The bats will be removed through exclusion, where the bats fly out rather than trapping them in the building. All entry points will then be sealed to prevent future problems."
The roost is located in an area of the building where a beam comes into contact with the fourth-floor roof, making it difficult to access.
The entire process to remove the bats is expected to take 10 days. The work area will be secured and student traffic entering and exiting the area will be re-routed during the project, Sherrill said.
"Bryant Public Schools is committed to working with the Arkansas Department of Health and the wildlife removal company to provide a safe environment for students and staff," she said.
District officials had originally planned to remove the bats during the summer months as to not disrupt students. Maintenance personnel had been monitoring the area along with inspecting and sanitizing the sidewalks before students and staff arrived each morning.