SALT LAKE CITY — Students showing up to school early this week at West High School walked into a frightful scene. About 200 bats had found their way inside.
"Pretty gross," Vibah Bajii, 17, said. "I heard somebody left a window open. That's how they got in. I'm not sure."
That seems to be the most popular theory, according to Jason Olsen, spokesman for the Salt Lake City School District. Olsen said workers have been capturing and then releasing the bats outside, getting the numbers down to about 30 by Wednesday afternoon.
"We'll spend the next few days checking every single point that we can to make sure there's not an entry point for the bats," Olsen said.
Staffers with the Salt Lake County Health Department were at the school Wednesday, screening students who may have come in contact with the bats.
Video captured on cellphones showed bats flying in the halls, and large groups hanging from the corners of the ceiling.
"It's kind of scary, but cool, too," Ishan Sharm, 12, said. "It's kind of fun seeing the bats around you, but it gets scary sometimes when they try to go past your head."
Olsen says the large numbers of bats used to be normal until workers at the school cracked down on the problem nearly a decade ago.
"We'd work with local experts, environmental experts here in Salt Lake City, and would actually watch and view the bats, and where they left the building at nighttime," Olsen explained. "We could then identify those spots and seal them up."
Olsen says workers closed off the building Wednesday after school to complete a deep scouring and inspection of the school, hopefully getting the remaining bats outside and released.