The Friday night lights were on the bench in Ledyard, with the high school football game starting earlier than usual over EEE concerns.
“They have to do what they have to do to keep everybody safe. That’s the most important thing,” said Montville parent Scott Lee.
Lee had to do a schedule shuffle today so he could be I the stands to see his daughter play in the band during Friday’s football game.
School officials started the game at 4 p.m. to avoid peak mosquito activity. Ledyard is one of the areas where mosquitoes have tested positive for
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.
“You get a little worried but you’re happy the school takes precautions in that measure and everybody’s safe,” Lee said.
The school district moved up outdoor activities amid a warning from the Ledge Light Health District to limit outdoor time during peak mosquito hours to avoid the risk of EEE. EEE is rare, but 30 percent of people who catch it die, and survivors typically suffer ongoing neurological problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s been around. We’ve known about it. More so the West Nile. But to see it impact not just our town, but the surrounding towns in southeastern Connecticut is certainly new for all of us,” said Jim Buonocore, who is athletic director, assistant principal at Ledyard High School.
The district will likely move other games until the first frost while mosquitoes remain active.
“And this is just the beginning. Depending on when that first frost comes or when Ledge Light lifts their suggestions, we’re going to keep following this and do the best we can with it,” he said.
Nicole Wheeler, who was in the stands to watch her cheerleading niece, made the move for earlier in the day, but wonders if it really will make a different when it comes to EEE.
“I guess it’s one of those things you just have to deal with, The school is covering their own behinds. But like I said, the mosquitos are here 24/7. They’re not going anywhere,” she said.
The Wildcats at Norwich Free Academy also announced they are adjusting practice and game schedules to happen before dusk and after dawn.