Thousands of children have been told to stay home today after a council closed four schools – because they were invaded by Britain’s deadliest SPIDERS.
Newham Council has evacuated two primaries and two secondary schools to treat the invasion of False Widow Spiders “immediately, before the eggs start hatching”.
Thousands of kids in the east London borough stayed home while pest control experts scoured the schools in a bid to curb the killer menace.
False Widow Spiders, the UK’s most poisonous arachnid, are dark-coloured with globular bodies and range from 9.5 to 14 mm in size.
Although named because of its physical similarity to the killer black widow spider, the species’ bites rarely cause death but can be very painful.
Symptoms include severe pain radiating from the bite and fever – but could prove fatal if a young and vulnerable child was bitten in an especially sensitive location.
Four schools in the borough are facing weeks without lessons, including Lister Community School, Star Primary, Ellen Wilkinson Primary and Rokeby Secondary School.
Headteacher at Star Primary, Lisle Von Buchenroder, said the school was forced to close so pest control can exterminate the eggs before they start hatching.
She wrote to parents on Wednesday, and said: “I am writing to update you regarding the current school closure.
“It was with much regret that I had to make the decision to close the school yesterday as the safety and well-being of pupils and staff is always our number one priority.
“I was made aware of an infestation of noble false black widow spiders which was discovered during a routine check by Newham’s Environmental Team.
“They believe that the infestation is contained to the outside of the building and that this needs to be treated immediately before the eggs start hatching.
“I want to reassure all members of our community that these are precautionary measures and that we are very lucky to have found out in time to take action to remove them.
“After speaking to the Environmental Team this morning, I do regretfully have to inform you that I am advised the school treatment plan will happen in two phases, starting tomorrow.
“We will update you next week as to when we expect the school to reopen.”
Anthony Wilson, headteacher at Lister School, sent a letter to parents yesterday.
He said: “These spiders can bite humans, and the bite is unpleasant, although it is very rarely serious.
“Investigations today suggest that there may be some of these spiders on our site, and we are therefore following advice from the Local Authority and will be closing the school as a precaution tomorrow to allow full investigation.”
Mr Wilson said he hopes to reopen the school on Friday, but for parents to look out for updates.