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Dozens of West Michigan schools reschedule events, citing student safety amid EEE concerns

Schools react to MDHHS EEE recommendation
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Dozens of West Michigan schools announced Wednesday they were following Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommendations to move, postpone or cancel activities due to the recent increase in cases of the mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis virus.

Several other athletic directors and superintendents told Newschannel 3 that the virus was on their radar and discussions were occurring over whether to reschedule activities.

The state health department recommended the changes so people can avoid being outside at dusk and during the evening when mosquitoes are most active.

In Cass County, Cassopolis High School complied with the state's recommendations.

In Van Buren County, Mattawan Consolidated Schools moved the times of soccer and football games, so the matches finished before dusk. Superintendent Robin Buchler said she'd been working with the state health department for three weeks to ensure the safety of students and staff. She said the school grounds received mosquito treatments and events were rescheduled to earlier times on a week-by-week basis.

In Kalamazoo County, several athletic directors told Newschannel 3 discussions were ongoing to determine what would be done.

Portage Public Schools Community Relations Manager Michelle Karpinski said, in a written statement, that "after careful consideration Portage Public Schools will maintain current athletic event and outdoor activity schedules at this time." The statement went on to say the decision was based on the fact that practices occur during daylight and most outdoor events take place on hard surfaces or artificial turf fields.

Among the games and events that have been rescheduled are:

Mattawan Consolidated Schools:

  • JV soccer vs. Gull Lake on Thursday, Sept. 19, 4 p.m.
  • Varsity soccer vs. Gull Lake on Thursday, Sept. 19, 5:30 p.m.
  • Freshman football at Harper Creek on Thursday, Sept. 19, 5 p.m.
  • JV football vs. Niles on Thursday, Sept. 19, 5 p.m.

Friday high school football changes:

  • Lawton at Delton Kellogg, 5:30 p.m.
  • Niles at Mattawan Consolidated Schools, 5:30 p.m.
  • Bronson at Concord, 5:30 p.m.
  • Mendon at Bloomingdale, 5 p.m.
  • Paw Paw at Dowagiac, 5:15 p.m.
  • Three Rivers at Sturgis, 5:15 p.m.
  • Centreville at White Pigeon, 5 p.m.
  • Cassopolis at Bangor, 4 p.m.
  • Hartford at Eau Claire, 5 p.m.
  • Kalamazoo United vs. Parchment, 5 p.m.
  • Loy Norrix vs. K-Central, 5 p.m.
  • Vicksburg at Edwardsburg, 5 p.m.
  • Plainwell at South Haven, 5:15 p.m.

Other schools and community leagues:

  • AYSO in Mattawan practices were cancelled Wednesday, Sept. 18
  • Hartford Public Schools announced that all outdoor practices, including band, would end before dusk. The district also will be supplying insect repellent. Additionally, all JV and varsity football games will now begin at 5:30 p.m or earlier until further notice, school district officials said.

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