Bats flew into three residence hall rooms this week, twice entering rooms in the Hall on Virginia Avenue, and once entering a room in Guthridge Hall.
Assistant Dean of Students Rebecca Sawyer sent a blast e-mail Tuesday to all students living in on-campus housing, informing them of the bat entries, and advising them to only open their windows if there is a screen.
“Bats use echolocation to see if a screen isn’t there, but the window is open, when looking for a warm or cool spot to sleep,” said Michael Freedman, vice president for communications. “An open window to a room is like their natural habitat – a cave.”
In September, the University hired a private contractor to investigate if there was a colony of bats on campus, but the contractor did not find a large amount of bats.
Tracy Schario, a University spokesperson, said if a bat enters a room students should “not touch it and call UPD for help.”
In all three instances, the bats entered through an open window without a screen. There are posters in some residence halls explaining that Fixit is repairing broken screens in the residence halls, due to the recent bat incidents. Sawyer’s e-mail said students should notify Fixit if their windows do not have screens.
The Department of Heath has issued several reports this fall warning citizens of D.C. about the increase in the numbers of bats in the District.
On Aug. 30, Gregg Pane, director of the Department of Health, issued a news release asking residents to take extra caution to avoid exposure to bats.
In August, a rabid juvenile bat was found in Funger Hall, an academic building on campus.
Freedman said, “No question that this year seems to be particularly troublesome – not just at GW but all across Washington.”
“This is a common problem everywhere” said Paaqua Grant, a first-year graduate student and member of Bat Conservation International.