Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: schools

More on classroom reptiles

Posted in Reptiles
Sometimes, people send me links to articles because they think I’d be interested in them. Sometimes, they do it to see what kind of response they can evoke. I’m not sure which one this was: I was directed by a couple of people to a recent post of PLOS’s blog about snakes in classrooms. (I… Continue Reading

Elementary school reptile club: good, bad or ugly

Posted in Reptiles
Today’s Toronto Star has an article about a reptile club in a Toronto Elementary School. Teacher Jim Karkavitsas runs a session every day that teaches students about a range of reptiles. His menagerie has expanded from one snake five years ago to more than 40 different species in his classroom. Some are loaned out to… Continue Reading

Classroom pets…Things to consider

Posted in Other animals
Having pets in school classrooms is a somewhat controversial subject. For every good point that’s raised (e.g. promoting empathy, entertainment, learning about animals and their care) there are bad points (e.g. poor environment for the pet, rough handing, disorganized or absent medical care, disease transmission, fear, allergies, distraction). Some organizations have developed detailed guidelines for… Continue Reading

Spring is here, so are chicks in classrooms

Posted in Other animals
A sure sign of spring is the proliferation of classrooms hatching out chicken or duck eggs. While chicks may be cute and entertaining, they are also high-risk sources of Salmonella and some other infectious microorganisms. Numerous Salmonella outbreaks have been linked to contact with hatchling chicks, and care must be taken if teachers are considering… Continue Reading

Classroom squirrel

Posted in Other animals
A Rosedale, California high school has welcomed a new pet into the classroom: a squirrel. CJ Addington, a physics teacher, caught a baby squirrel that some students spotted outside the school. I have some (just a few) issues with this: In most areas, catching and keeping wildlife is illegal, for good reason. A baby squirrel wandering… Continue Reading

Family Salmonella outbreak from school reptile

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
Three Louisville, Kentucky children and their father recently contracted Salmonella from two lizards (green anoles) that the kids brought home from school. Two weeks after the lizards were brought home, the youngest child got sick. Then the other kids and the father got sick. This outbreak highlights numerous problems: Schools are not pet stores: Why… Continue Reading

Service animal stink in Yonkers

Posted in Dogs
A Yonkers, New York school has barred a service dog from a school. On the surface, that sounds like a problem and an invitation for a lawsuit (particularly in the US considering the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)), but when you hear the details is seems like an entirely logical response. The "service dog" is a… Continue Reading

Service dogs in classrooms

Posted in Dogs
A friend recently asked me about having service dogs in classrooms. Her sister, who is a learning resources teacher, told her about an autistic child who will be attending her school with a dog. The dog prevents the child from bolting and helps reduce anxiety. She thought this was an interesting topic because of the… Continue Reading

Baby chicks in preschools

Posted in Salmonella
Just last week I blogged about concerns regarding young children handling baby chicks in classrooms.  Baby chicks are high-risk animals because of the potential for transmission of Salmonella.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children less than 5 years of age not have contact with baby chicks for this reason. Unfortunately,… Continue Reading

Hatching chicks in classrooms

Posted in Birds, Salmonella
My oldest daughter is in Grade 2, and last year her class hatched chicken eggs in the classroom. As a parent, I was somewhat torn about the idea. My main concern was the risk of exposure to Salmonella. A recent article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports described outbreaks of salmonellosis associated with contact with live… Continue Reading

Stupid things done with bats

Posted in Other animals, Rabies
I’m constantly amazed at what some people do with bats. Bats are a leading cause of human rabies exposure in North America.  Despite extensive efforts to educate people about the importance of avoiding contact with bats, some people still either don’t know or don’t take these warnings seriously. The latest bizarre example of stupid things… Continue Reading

Snakes, mice and Salmonella: a bad classroom combination

Posted in Reptiles, Salmonella
Reptiles are common pets, and the risk of transmission of Salmonella from reptiles is fairly well known.  Most of the attention regarding Salmonella in these cases involves direct contact with reptiles, especially turtles. However, both direct and indirect contact with other reptiles also carry risk, as can contact with other animals. A recent report about a 2005/2006… Continue Reading