School district responds to EEE news with options for worried parents

by beth on September 9, 2019

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With this weekend’s sad news that patients diagnosed with EEE now include a woman in Northborough and a young child from another town, the Northborough-Southborough Schools sent a notice to parents yesterday. In it they offer worried parents two new options.

One is that children with a permission form can be sprayed with mosquito repellent before going outdoors. The other is for parents to request their children to remain indoors (while other children will continue to have outdoor recess.)

They are also encouraging parents to have children wear more protective clothing. (That would be easier if the weather felt more like fall. It’s brisk this morning, but temps are forecast to rise. Wednesday is showing a high of 85.) Parents are also encouraged to spray children before they head to school in the morning.

Here is the message from the Superintendent:

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I have an important update on the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) or Triple E.

In response to the threat of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus and the designations of Critical Risk in both towns, the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough are adhering to the recommendations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Northborough Board of Health, Southborough Board of Health and the press releases from both communities. District and school leaders are working closely with Northborough and Southborough town officials to ensure the safety and well-being of all of our students and staff.

Due to recent news that a Northborough resident has been diagnosed with Triple E, as well as a child in Sudbury, The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough is taking the following measures:

  • Adhering to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines (Not new -In place since August 19, 2019);
  • Postponing or rescheduling outdoor activities that fall within the 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM timeframe (Not new – In place since August 19, 2019);
  • Giving parents the option to have their child(ren) remain indoors until the first hard frost; this requires parents to send a note to their child’s school. (New – as of September 9, 2019), and;
  • Inspecting daily school grounds for standing water (Not new – In place since August 19, 2019).

Additionally, we are:

  • Encouraging parents to have their child(ren) wears long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks;
  • Encouraging parents to apply mosquito repellent to their child’s clothing before sending their child(ren) to school, and;
  • Dr. Safdar Medina, School District Physician, has provided a standing order for school personnel to apply Off Family Care Insect Repellant (15% Deet); this requires written permission from the parent or guardian. A standard parent permission form will be on the District Health and Wellness website (See link below)

At this time, the schools are not making changes to recess routines for students during the school day.

The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough will continue to coordinate with town and state officials, and other community partners and will provide updates as they become available. These measures will remain in place until further notice.

Our school leaders will be working with staff to make necessary adjustments and identify ways to mitigate potential impacts on students. If you have particular concerns about your child, please do not hesitate to reach out to your building principal.

Respectfully,

Greg Martineau

Important Links:

District Health and Wellness Webpage:
https://www.nsboro.k12.ma.us/domain/91

Town of Northborough:
https://www.town.northborough.ma.us/home/news/eee-update-9719

Town of Southborough:
https://www.southboroughtown.com/home/urgent-alerts/important-information-regarding-elevated-eee-risk-southborough

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