August 30, 2019

Campus updates on EEE

Tips and resources to stay informed

The following guidelines and frequently asked questions were developed to help students practice good protective habits and to keep families informed of our latest plans as we prepare to open school.

Guidelines to minimize the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks. This may be difficult when the weather is hot, but it will keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Bring appropriate mosquito repellent to campus and use it, particularly if going outside between dusk and dawn.
  • For outside athletic practices, use mosquito repellent. Repellent is available from coaches and athletic trainers. You should also have your own supply.
  • While window screens on campus have been checked for damages, please remain alert. If you notice a damaged screen, report it to your house counselor (for dorm windows) or teacher (for classroom windows). They will submit a repair order.
  • Do not linger/congregate outside for extended periods between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., the times when mosquitoes are most active.
  • If you have applied mosquito repellent, make sure that you wash your hands before eating. In addition, you should shower before bed to wash off the repellent before getting into bed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the risk of contracting the EEE virus?
The risk of contracting EEE is extremely rare. Since 1938, fewer than 100 cases have occurred in Massachusetts. Risks present in our everyday lives pose a greater threat. For example, an individual is more likely to get injured crossing the street than to contract EEE. Similarly, while we do not avoid crossing streets, we take every precaution we can to minimize the risk of injury (pushing the crosswalk button, looking both ways, ensuring the car has stopped, taking extra precautions when crossing at night, etc.).

I’ve seen the news reports and I am a bit anxious. What I can I do as a parent to help and support?
We recognize that events like these can cause some anxiety. Our intent is to educate and focus on prevention. Our priority is the health and safety of our students and our employees. We have worked hard to develop recommendations for everyone to reduce the risk, which we have outlined. The most important thing that you can do as a parent is check in with your child to make sure that they are following the guidelines we have outlined.

Is there a vaccine for EEE?
No, there is no vaccine for EEE in humans.

What can I do to reduce my risk of being bitten by a mosquito?
Follow the guidelines listed above.

Can you ensure that my child is not at risk for contracting EEE?
We cannot ensure that the risk is zero. Our goal is to raise awareness and modify activities in an effort to mitigate the risk. In addition, your child should follow the above guidelines and utilize personal protection (long pants, long sleeves, appropriate insect repellent, avoiding higher risk times when mosquitoes are more active) to further minimize their risk of contracting EEE. These same principles apply to other mosquito-borne and tick-borne infections.

Why am I hearing about this now and not earlier in the summer?
As soon as we were informed by the Massachusetts Department of Health that EEE-carrying mosquitoes were discovered in our area, we began to put our response protocols in place, which led to the communications you received.

Who is Phillips Academy working with?
We have been coordinating efforts with state and local officials, experts in the fields of public health, medicine, and entomology, as well as other schools as we implement our action plan on campus.

Has the campus been sprayed for mosquitoes?
In coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the town of Andover, several areas around campus have been sprayed including athletic fields and the boat house, which is located in Methuen.

Why wasn’t the entire campus sprayed?
Working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the town of Andover, we were instructed that spraying would not be effective in large open areas without large surrounding vegetation.

What if I want to hang out outside at night?
To help mitigate risk, we ask that everyone please not linger/congregate outside from dusk to dawn (for now, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.).

Can I use the OWHL (library) in the evening?
Yes, you can use the library. Please follow the guidelines above, in particular wear pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts, use mosquito repellent, and remember not to congregate outside.

Has dorm sign-in time changed?
No, however, we ask that everyone be diligent in following the guidelines above.

Are indoor evening activities still taking place?
Yes, all indoor activities including meals, clubs, music groups, and ensembles are still taking place.

Are outdoor activities still taking place?
Unless otherwise stated as changed, activities that take place during the day will go on as planned. However, we will not be hosting any outside evening activities between dusk and dawn.

Is it ok to walk between buildings?
As we all make our way around campus, our approach is to minimize risk as much as possible. By following the guidelines above, you will minimize the possibility of being bitten. Again, please wear pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts, and do not linger/congregate outside between dusk and dawn (for now, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.).

Can I go to the Cochran Sanctuary?
The Cochran Sanctuary is closed for the time being out of an abundance of caution.

Will mosquito repellent be available on campus?
Mosquito repellent containing DEET or picardin will be made available in select areas across campus, including athletic fields. You should still bring your own supply, as noted above.

How does this affect my sports practices or games?
Regular athletic practices end by 6 p.m., before the arrival of dusk. We are currently working with our school partners on the few evening games that are scheduled this fall. As the fall season arrives and sunset occurs earlier, we will make appropriate adjustments.

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