As the peak of the bat migration season draws near, Hays CISD officials are urging caution for students, parents and staff to avoid the animals if sighted at area campuses.
The warning comes after a group of teachers saw a bat flying around inside a school during daylight hours at a recent district meeting. Authorities were called and they successfully guided the bat out of the facility.
In November 2018, three students who noticed a bat during their playground period attempted to help the dead animal by picking it up. The children had to be given multiple rounds of rabies vaccinations but were otherwise uninjured.
Tim Savoy, Hays CISD chief communications officer, said district averages six to 10 bat sightings per year at various campuses.
Officials said bats found at schools are Mexican Free-Tailed bats, which migrate to the Central Texas area to breed from February to August. During their stay, the bats have been known to make appearances under Austin bridges, the San Antonio Riverwalk and occasionally a Hays CISD playground.
When a bat is seen flying during daylight, or is found lying on a playground, officials say this is a sign the animal is sick or has died due to illness. Bats, which are nocturnal creatures, normally fly in groups in the nighttime hours, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife offiicals. When bats break their normal nocturnal patterns, experts say the bat might be rabid.
“We send out emails warning parents about the bat migration and encourage them to talk to their kids about safety,” said Hays CISD Chief Communication Officer Tim Savoy. “Kids will touch the bat, wanting to save it, and will later be scared to admit it. It’s important that they do.”
Officials said students are instructed to notify an adult if they see a live or a dead bat on campus. Parents and staff can call Hays County’s Animal Control to deal with the animal.