False Widow Spiders Force Four London Schools to Close

Elias Hubbard
October 6, 2018

Two other primary schools - Ellen Wilkinson in Beckton and Star in Star Lane - and two secondary schools - Rokeby, Canning Town, and Lister in Plaistow - already announced closures while the eight-legged invasion is treated.

"Luckily, I'm a stay-home mum so I can be here with him".

False widows are about the size of a 50p coin and are the most unsafe spider species in the UK.

The venomous insect, which has been in Britain for the last 130 years, is a cousin of the deadly black widow spider, but unlike its close relative, its bites are not fatal to humans.

Symptoms can include severe pain radiating from the bite and fever.

Charlotte Robinson, a headteacher at Rokeby School, told parents and guardians in an email that the school would remain closed until October 29, according to the Evening Standard.

A spokeswoman for Newham Council said the closures have been implemented "at the head teachers' discretion [.], as these infestations were in a number of locations across the school sites".

He wrote in a letter to parents that he hoped the school would "be able to reopen on Friday".

"Pupils are being set work via the schools and will remain in contact with schools".

A sixth school has closed following an outbreak of false widow spiders across Newham. Moreover, the schools have to be treated before the spider 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".

In a letter to parents of the school's 770 pupils, she wrote: "I have had to take the hard decision to close Rokeby School to students and staff until Monday, October 29.

There have been no reports of anyone at Lister being bitten by a false widow spider", he said. It costs a lot to produce.

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