September 19, 2013
Dear Parents and Guardians,
First, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience as we navigate through this mosquito season in which sick mosquitoes can and are being detected on a daily basis. Keeping our students safe is our primary objective and your understanding is most appreciated.
For clarification purposes please note that my Power Announcement (formerly AlertNow) of yesterday is to suspend outdoor activities for students who will be in locations/towns detecting EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or WNV (West Nile Virus). Outdoor activity has NOT been cancelled district-wide; just in areas testing positive for sick mosquitoes. In SAU 55, the only towns with positive detection (as of the date of this letter) are Sandown and Hampstead. In Sandown’s case, EEE was detected right on Sandown North school property so all outdoor activity at Sandown North is suspended and will remain so until further notice. Sandown Central and Hampstead’s outdoor activity is also suspended, but just throughout the weekend (more on this below).
Yesterday’s directive stated that any outdoor activity taking place off of school grounds, including athletic events and field trips, needs to be vetted to determine if EEE or WNV has been detected in the town of the trip/event’s destination. If detection is positive, the trip/activity needs to be suspended (cancelled or rescheduled). This order will remain in effect throughout the weekend (excluding high school athletics whereby reasonable accommodations have been approved and are already in effect).
Beginning Monday, September 23rd: Students will be allowed to participate in outdoor activities in all locations provided reasonable accommodations are made (except for outdoor activities on Sandown North property). Those accommodations will include confirmation that:
The activity is restricted to the hours of dawn to dusk (between the hours of 8am to 6pm);
- Confirmation of industrial spraying in areas affected/detected to have sick mosquitoes; and
- Insect repellants are available and used by students and staff.
Additionally, parents will be given the choice of opting out of any activity the district has approved under reasonable accommodations as listed above. It will be the parent’s responsibility to contact their school to opt out. Therefore, it is important that parents take an active role in monitoring their student’s school outdoor activities schedule.
It is likely that this will be a reoccurring concern for us for years to come, so again, I thank you for your understanding and support as we make these very important decisions on a day-to-day basis.
Dr. Earl Metzler,
Superintendent of Schools