Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
RANDOLPH (CBS) – As dusk fell on the Randolph High School football field Tuesday night, the mosquitoes had plenty of people to bite. Football practice was in full swing, adults exercised and the dancers of Stajez Performing Arts Center were training.
“We gave a little spritz before we came in and we’re going to do it again before we go home,” said Sophia Caldwell who runs the dance school.
News that a Norfolk County woman had become the year’s first EEE fatality made her even more concerned.
“It’s scary, because I think about my own kids, these kids that we service on a daily basis. It’s heartbreaking to hear about something like that,” she said.
Other parents have also had the mosquito-borne illnesses on their minds. They could be seen dousing their children with coatings of bug spray.
“We don’t know who is the next person. It’s scary,” said Clara Williams as she covered every inch of her son with repellent.
Other communities decided to take precautions even before news of the EEE death. Swansea school officials voted Monday night to require that all outdoor activities end by 6:30 or dusk.
The move means Friday night football games will be played at 4pm and that the band will hold evening practices inside.
“It’s a public safety issue. Towns surrounding us have West Nile. One has three cases,” said Swansea School Committee Chairman James Carvalho.
Pools of mosquitoes in Swansea and neighboring areas have tested positive for both EEE and West Nile.
The concern is so great, Carvalho says, that at least one of the school’s football opponents told them they would cancel the game if it was played in the evening.