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Classrooms were empty and cleanup efforts underway Thursday and Friday at two co-located elementary schools in East Oakland after a major flea problem developed there, school district officials said.

Esperanza and Korematsu Discovery Academy elementary schools on E Street near 104th Avenue remained closed to both students and staff while crews complete a deep cleaning of classrooms and common areas, including removing all carpeting where fleas have been found to live and lay eggs, according to the Oakland Unified School District.

District officials said the schools are abutted on one side by a park and a wooded area on the other and have had issues with raccoons, which may have led to the flea problem that first came up in mid-September.

During the closure, students have been doing their work via independent study and teachers have been encouraged to work with their classes virtually, according to the district.

“We never want to close down a school, especially after the last year and a half we all experienced with COVID-19, but this is necessary to keep the school facilities safe for the Esperanza and Korematsu communities,” OUSD Chief Systems and Services Officer Preston Thomas said in a statement.

Classes are expected to resume at the schools Monday, and although the flea issue isn’t expected to be fully resolved by then, district officials said in a news release that “the improvements should be noticeable to students and staff when they return.”