On Friday, officials with the School District of Pickens County said the elementary school’s gym was closed on Jan. 13, when bats were discovered in the eaves of the building.
In a statement, released by district spokeswoman Julie Thompson, the district said it was looking at how many bats are in the gym, how they got there, how they can be removed and when they can be removed.
“All of the people we have consulted with so far have suggested a March date,” Thompson said. “We are trying to determine where they got in and whether or not they are in any other part of the building.”
Thompson said the gym and its heating and air conditioning unit are isolated from the rest of the building, but inspectors are working to make sure that is the only place the bats are located.
The bats may be endangered, Thompson said, so they may have to be relocated instead of killed.
“They’re still in the early stages of getting every one to verify everything,” she said. “We want to be confident we’ve taken the right steps to ensure the kids and staff are safe, and that the bats are handled appropriately.”
According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 10 species of bats in the country are considered endangered or threatened. In South Carolina, special roosts have been developed for the Indiana bat and the Rafinesque’s big eared bat.
Once the exact species of bat is determined, officials will know more about who to handle them, Thompson said.
A similar situation happened to the school district in 2009, Thompson said, when bats had to be trapped and removed from Gettys Middle School.