Second school announces month-long closure due to false widow spider infestation

Lister Community School is closed due to a false widow spider infestation. Picture: Ken Mears

Lister Community School is closed due to a false widow spider infestation. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Lister Community School has become the second to confirm it will be closed for a month following a false widow spider infestation.

Headteacher Anthony Wilson confirmed today (Thursday) that the Plaistow school would be shut until Monday, October 29 to allow for an intensive fumigation process.

In a letter to parents, he wrote: “We have had to make the very difficult decision to close the school following confirmation that there is a false widow spider infestation at our school.

“No one could have predicted that we would be closed in these circumstances, but we have now had clear advice that there is a significant presence of the spiders.

“The problem has to be dealt with, and after careful consultation, we have concluded that it is best that it is done thoroughly and immediately.”

He added that while most bites are of the severity level of a wasp bite, “we must consider that in our large school population there may be some individuals with medical conditions who could react more severely”.

Mr Wilson said that the school was exploring whether any alternative sites could be used, and that teachers were working to prepare programmes of work for all year groups.

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The announcement comes after Rokeby School headteacher Charlotte Robinson said yesterday (Wednesday) that the school would be shut for the same period of time, which does include a one-week half term holiday.

The headteachers of two other affected schools, Star Primary School and Ellen Wilkinson Primary School, said they would be exploring the possibility of using alternative venues next week while their buildings were treated.

Meanwhile a fifth school, Earlham Primary School, was closed today to investigate a potential infestation.

A statement on the school’s website said that they were “still waiting for pest control to inspect the school”.