UPDATE: 3 more bats found in Franklin Co. school; 1 positive for rabies


FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- Franklin County schools say that three more bats have been found inside the school, one of them testing positive for rabies.

Franklin County schools says school will be out again on Friday.

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- A Franklin County elementary school was shut down Thursday after a teacher found a rabid bat near the school’s playground.

Classes at Hearn Elementary started just a few weeks ago.

“We were in for half of a week and then all of last week and then this is our third week in,” said Mark Kopp, superintendent of Franklin County Schools.

Just enough time for teachers and students to settle in to their new routine.

“It’s been great. It’s been the best start, very smooth. We’ve had a wonderful start with transportation, with our food and nutrition. Everything has been going wonderfully,” said Kopp.

But on Thursday the parking lot was empty and the school quiet.

That’s because the day before a P.E. teacher spotted something near the playground.

“A bat that was found in the vicinity of the building outside. A bat that had tested positive for rabies,” said Kopp.

That prompted school officials to shut down the elementary school Thursday and bring in a crew.

“They are looking for any bats themselves and most importantly they are looking for any nook or cranny that they can close off with caulking or steel mesh so that no further bats can get into the building,” said Judy Mattingly with the Franklin County Health Department.

While there were no children at the school while crews search for more bats, there were children just hundreds of feet away in a neighborhood behind the playground.

“There are several neighbors that have children. As long as we’re aware of it we can take care of it,” said Wayne Westwood, who lives near Hearn Elementary.

Health officials say that means checking your home for holes.

“Chimneys, siding, underneath siding, behind shutters on homes, sometimes there can be holes that they squeeze in,” said Mattingly.

School officials say several dead bats were found inside the school during the sweep.

Those are being sent to the lab for testing.

“We’ve taken very cautionary steps, I think appropriate steps and we hope that this will lead to a very positive learning environment, a safe environment for our kids,” said Kopp.

Officials hope to have students back in class Friday.