Officials at New Braunfels Independent School District said they have repaired a hole that resulted in dozens of bats flying into New Braunfels Middle School.
The bats discovered Wednesday night either flew out the building on their own or were removed by custodial employees, according to a letter Principal Greg Hughes sent to parents Thursday night.
“The campus custodians discovered a large group of bats in the third-floor hallway,” he wrote. “Most of the bats vacated the building shortly after being discovered and others were captured and released.”
Contrary to some published reports, the school canceled no classes as a result of the incident, Hughes wrote to parents. In fact, because the building was closed at the time, the district normally would not have notified parents, said Rebecca Villarreal, NBISD director of communications.
However, district officials decided to break protocol after bad information was disseminated to the public, she said.
“At no time were any students exposed to the bats. The incident occurred after school hours,” Villarreal said. “We notified parents of the situation since another media outlet mistakenly posted online that classes had been canceled due to the presence of bats.”
She said custodians discovered the bats about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
That is when they went up to the third floor, turned on the lights and began cleaning. Next, the rodents began flying around the hallway, Villarreal said.
“The (custodians) must have disturbed the bats above, the bats got disoriented and entered the school rather than fly outside,” she said. “This was a unique situation and the custodians were definitely surprised to make that discovery.”
Later, district staff located a 2-inch-by-3-inch hole in the brick mortar along the third-story roof line and a small 2-inch-by-1-inch gap in the ceiling tile that granted the winged mammals access to the hallway, Villarreal said.
District maintenance personnel repaired the issues, she said.
As normal operations dictate, the school has been inspected and will be monitored.
“Due to this situation, our protocol is to continue to monitor the situation to ensure that no other bats are present or able to enter the building,” Hughes said. “The hole in which they originally entered into the hallway has been repaired and the facilities crew will continue to check the facility for any other holes both inside and outside.”