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On Tuesday, December 4, a local second grade boy was bitten by a bat at the Sweetwater High School auditorium.
According to reports from the boy's family and the superintendent of Sweetwater ISD (Independent School District) Terry Pittman, the second graders were at the auditorium to practice for their upcoming Christmas program. The bat was on the ground and was still alive when the boy made contact with it.
Pittman shared that following the incident, the bat was picked up by the Sweetwater Animal Control and was sent to Austin to be tested for rabies. Results came back on Thursday morning, confirming the bat tested negative for rabies.
Bats have been found on previous occasions on the Sweetwater campuses--even as far back as the 1980s at the high school. However, Sweetwater Animal Control informed the district that bats have been surfacing everywhere throughout the community in a number of buildings.
Several years ago, action was taken when bats were found at the Sweetwater Middle School. A company based in San Antonio was brought to the campus to seal the areas, as bats can only be captured and not killed.
The same actions were taken last week at the high school, but since that time the bats are finding ways to escape. The superintendent said that at least a dozen bats have been caught since last week.
"Bats have been around the campuses for a long time," said Pittman, "but we [the district] are doing as much as possible to keep students safe."
As long as there is no present danger--as bats do not attack people by nature, the activities set in the auditorium will continue as planned. If any bats are found, Sweetwater ISD is urging students to make no physical contact with the bats.
The district continues to work with the local animal control and the San Antonio-based company as they keep checking for bats. Should any more bats be found on district property, they will be captured and sent to Animal Control and the Nolan County Rabies Control Officer, Dr. Bud E. Alldredge.
Pittman said that he is "glad that everything is okay" on the outcome of the test results and the welfare of the student.