GROTON, CT (WFSB) - School districts put limits on students outdoor sports time due to the recent detection of a mosquito-borne virus.
Health and town officials in Groton announced on Wednesday that school outdoor activities during the evening hours will be restricted.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE, was found among mosquitoes in Groton and Ledyard.
The Town of Groton administration, Town Council and Groton Public Schools said they discussed a recent notice from the Ledge Light Health District.
They said they determined that it is in the best interest of protecting the health of the community to limit exposure to mosquitoes by ending evening activities by 6:30 p.m.
As a result, Groton Parks & Recreation is canceling any previously approved use of fields after 6:30 p.m. until it's determined that they are safe to use.
"We will make every effort to reschedule previously scheduled games and practices," the department posted to Facebook. "We realize that this will greatly affect many practices and games, but ask for your help in conveying the message that it is a wise decision to protect the health of our community."
"It does hurt us a little bit. We also had to cancel our youth football night, which was planned for this Friday," said Jim Buonocore, Ledyard's athletic director.
This Friday's football game had to be moved until next Friday and the games had to be moved up to 4 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.
Outdoor practices will only be held between the hours of 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Groton Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Lokken posted field restrictions, curtailing field activity after 6:30 p.m. until further notice.
“The park is wide open and we’re not going to be down here policing the park, but we're certainly going to recommend people follow the recommendations from the health department," Lokken said.
Residents are advised to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites:
- Be sure door and window screens are tight fitting and in good repair.
- While outdoors, wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts. Clothing material should be tightly woven.
- Use mosquito netting if sleeping outdoors.
- Consider using mosquito repellent when it is necessary to be outdoors and always use them according to label instructions. The most effective repellents contain DEET or Picaridin. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also effective for brief periods of exposure.
- When using DEET, use the lowest concentration effective for the time spent outdoors (for example, 6% lasts approximately 2 hours and 20% for 4 hours) and wash treated skin when returning indoors. Do not apply under clothing, to wounds or irritated skin, the hands of children, or to infants less than 2 months.
Measures to reduce mosquitoes around the home include:
- Dispose of water-holding containers, such as ceramic pots, used tires, and tire
- Swings, clogged gutters.
- Drill holes in the bottom of containers such as those used for recycling.
- Change water in bird baths on a weekly basis.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and cover pools when not in use.
- Use landscaping to eliminate areas where water can collect on your property.
For more information on EEE and West Nile Virus, click here.