The Rhode Island Department of Health is urging towns and schools to practice "smart scheduling" of outdoor sports amidst the rising threat of mosquito-borne illnesses. According to an advisory from North Kingstown Superintendent Phil Auger, all outdoor school department nighttime games and practices slated for 6 p.m. or later will be rescheduled to the afternoon until further notice.
So far this year, five pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) while another four have tested positive for West Nile Virus across the state. Earlier this month, mosquitoes from a test pool near Wickford tested positive for Highlands J virus. Though the virus does not affect humans, it is an indicator environmental conditions are appropriate for the transmission of other mosquito-borne viruses.
Health officials are now encouraging towns and schools to avoid scheduling sports practices, games and activities around early morning or at dusk – when mosquitoes are most active. They urge participants to wear insect repellent (with no more than 30 percent DEET), long pants and long-sleeved shirts. This "smart scheduling" is recommended to be in effect until the first frost of the year, typically in mid October.