A bat infestation at KIPP Believe Primary caused school officials to cancel classes Wednesday and scramble to relocate to the Holy Rosary campus in order to resume classes on Thursday.
“In the last few days it’s gotten increasingly worse,” School Leader Sarah Beth Greenberg said.
An increase of bat sightings at the K-3 school, housed in the Benjamin Banneker Elementary School at 421 Burdette St., forced the school to send students home early on Tuesday and call off classes altogether Wednesday.
Officials used the down time to pack up classrooms and move to Holy Rosary, a former Catholic elementary school recently vacated by another charter school, Morris Jeff Community School.
“There has been a bat situation at Benjamin Banneker since last year,” Greenberg said. “It was a problem, unfortunately, that was not tended to appropriately.”
KIPP Believe moved into the Banneker building over the summer. It was previously housed in modular buildings on the Gregory campus in Gentilly.
The Banneker building is owned by the Orleans Parish School Board but controlled by the state-created Recovery School District. The RSD took over Banneker and ran the school until last year, when it closed the last of its remaining direct-run schools.
The RSD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Greenberg said the bat sightings Tuesday led her to believe the building was unsafe for staff and children.
The school has been working with a bat specialist and other contractors to ensure the building is clear in short order, she said.
Greenberg hopes to have her students back at a bat-free Banneker after the spring break holiday.
Bats are not unheard of in New Orleans schools. In 2011, students walked out of McDonogh No. 35 High School to protest the ongoing pest problem.