United States

Schools Change Sports Schedules Due to EEE

With two confirmed deaths in Connecticut attributed to Eastern Equine Encephalitis, towns across the state are taking precaution; warning people, spraying, and altering recreational schedules.

Manchester High School was one of several Connecticut schools to turn its Friday Night game into an afternoon showdown, completed by 5:45 p.m.

“Personally, I am so pleased because I don’t want it to affect any of these children,” said Courtney Collins who’s grandson plays on the Manchester football team. “All it has to do is affect one. Just one and that’s more than enough to be affected by it.”

At least a dozen games were either scheduled for Friday afternoon or moved to Saturday.

Erring on the side of caution has been the approach in several towns, even those seemingly unaffected. Among them, Bristol, which issued a public health warning and adjusted all school-sponsored activities to ensure outdoor activities end by 5:30 p.m.

Not all unaffected towns, however, have taken this approach. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew posted on his Facebook page a list of reasons why Middletown has not. His statement read in part:

“There is a lot of unwarranted panic about this illness that is outsized to the actual threat posed to anyone.”

Some people we spoke with seem to agree.

“This virus has been in the United States and in our area for years and I think we’ve had a couple of really unfortunate events happen it’s become a little bit more exacerbated,” said Kristen Robinson of Middletown.

“I think the signs on the interstate are a little bit much,” added Shannon Santo Stefano of Colchester “I think they’re making people a little bit more nervous than they need to be.”

Linda Sweet lives in nearby Portland; a town where no mosquitoes this year have tested positive for EEE. Still, she thinks precautionary measures are necessary.

“I don’t think it’s an overreaction.” said Sweet pointing out that with two deaths in Connecticut already, she is happy to take precautions. “I worry a lot. Dusk. Dawn. Those kinds of things.”

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