Students to be temporarily relocated for weeks due to bed bug, rodent problem at DC school

- A spokesperson for D.C. Public Schools said students at Savoy Elementary School will be temporarily relocated to another school for several weeks as they work to resolve a bed bug and rodent problem at the Southeast D.C. school.

Students at Savoy will begin attending class at the campus of Ferebee-Hope Elementary School starting on Wednesday. The school district will provide transportation for students to the temporary location. Savoy Elementary School was shut down on Monday and will be closed again on Tuesday for the cleaning of the building.

“We will be at the Ferebee Campus for several weeks, and expect to move back to Savoy by the end of the month,” said D.C. Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Lerner.

In a letter to parents last Friday, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson said the school system is "committed to ensuring all students and staff are safe, and that the school environment is conducive to learning."

A thorough cleaning of the building started last Friday night, and all soft materials, including rugs, cots, blankets and pillows, inside the building will be removed. A safety and health inspection of the entire building will also occur, Wilson said.

DC Public Schools sent out a phone call, text, and a Facebook message about the transportation for Savoy students:

Hello Savoy Elementary School Families,

As we work diligently to prepare Savoy Elementary School for students’ return in several weeks, Savoy Elementary School reopens tomorrow, Wednesday, February 8 at Ferebee Hope Elementary School campus, located at 3999 8th Street, SE. To support families through this temporary transition, DCPS will provide shuttle bus transportation to and from Savoy Elementary School and Ferebee Hope Elementary School.

For morning arrival: The buses will pick up students at Savoy Elementary School along Shannon Place SE in front of Savoy ES’ main entrance. There is one morning pick-up time scheduled:

Bus Arrival:                          7:25 a.m.

Bus Departure:   7:50 a.m.

-          Bus 1 – Pre-K

-          Bus 2 – Pre-K and K

-          Bus 3 – 1st Grade

-          Bus 4 – 2nd Grade

-          Bus 5 – 3rd Grade

-          Bus 6 – 4th Grade

-          Bus 7 – 5th Grade

For afternoon dismissal: There are three pick-up times scheduled: 3:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. All afternoon drop-offs will be located on Talbert Street SE, in front of Savoy Elementary School’s parking lot. 

Pick-up 1:              End of school day (For students who do NOT participate in extended day or aftercare)

Bus Arrival:                          3:00 p.m.

Bus Departure:   3:20 p.m.

-          Bus 1 – Red (Pre-K and K)

-          Bus 2 – Blue (4th Grade)

-          Bus 3 – Yellow (5th Grade)

Pick-up 2:              End of extended school day (For students who participate in extended day, but not aftercare)

Bus Arrival:                          4:00 p.m.

Bus Departure:   4:20 p.m.

-          Bus 1 – Red (1st Grade)

-          Bus 2 – Blue (2nd Grade)

-          Bus 3 – Yellow (3rd Grade)

-          Bus 4 – Green (Overflow)

Pick-up 3:                              All grades (For students who participate in aftercare)

Bus Arrival:                          5:50 p.m.

Bus Departure:   6:10 p.m.

Buses will be color-coded:

-          Bus 1 – Red (Pre-K and K)

-          Bus 2 – Blue (1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade)

-          Bus 3 – Yellow (4th and 5th Grade)

Please note that parents and guardians will not be able to ride the bus with their children.

A Maryland-based pest control company with at least a dozen people were seen at Savoy Elementary School on Monday working on getting the rodents and bed bugs out of the school in a massive cleaning and extermination process.

ANC Commissioner Rhonda Hines said she spoke with the District's Department of Health.

“First, they have to find out where the infestation is at the heaviest,” Hines said. “Then when they locate where the heaviest is, then they can start treating right there.”

She added, “It takes from two to three weeks and that is just for a small infestation, but if it is larger, it might run over into another six weeks. But whatever it takes as long as the school is safe health-wise for them babies to come back.”

Some teachers told FOX 5 last week that they would not report to school because of the ongoing issues at the school.

An emergency meeting was held last Thursday regarding the reported infestation of bed bugs and rats inside the school, but outraged parents felt they got few answers. Some parents told FOX 5 they wanted the school to be closed until the issue was resolved, and many were fearful of their own homes being contaminated with bed bugs if their child brought them home from school.

D.C. Councilmember Trayon White (D-Ward 8) posted photos on his Facebook page of the cleaning work underway at the school.

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