Dear CTA Families:

We want to keep you informed of any possible health risks to your family. This letter is a part of an ongoing effort to do so.

Creative Technologies Academy takes the health and safety of students, staff and the families of those who attend athletics and other extracurricular activities very seriously. It is our highest priority.

All schools within Kent ISD are working very closely with the Kent County Health Department to actively monitor the Eastern Equine Encephalitis outbreak on a day-to-day basis. All are following the guidance of the health department to ensure the safety of their students, staff and families.

There is no blanket directive from the Kent County Health Department or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for all schools to reschedule outdoor events for daylight hours. Instead, it is one recommendation among many for districts to consider in their efforts to ensure safety. Our athletic director is working with the athletic directors of other schools to make adjustments to schedules on a case by case basis.

The Kent County Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and your local district administrators all agree families should exercise personal caution. Use mosquito repellants, wear long clothing that covers and protects the arms and legs, and avoid areas where there is standing and stagnant water that may be a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Districts intend to heed that advice and ensure students are protected. They will also consider individual circumstances when making the decision to proceed with outdoor events scheduled in the evening hours.

These considerations include the topography, physical surfaces and location of the events. If an event is scheduled on a grass field located near wetlands that may be a breeding ground for mosquitos, the decision will be different than one made for an event scheduled on a field that has an artificial surface and is located in a high, breezy area with no standing water or wetlands nearby.

Attached are other materials provided by the Kent County Health Department, the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators, and the Michigan School Public Relations Association for your review, reference and use with your community.

Following are personal safety tips:

How do I protect myself and my family from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)?

There is no vaccine against EEE virus for humans. Reducing exposure to mosquitoes is the best defense against infection with EEE and other mosquito-borne viruses. There are several approaches you and your family can use to prevent and control mosquito-borne diseases.

  • Use repellent: When outdoors, use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. The repellent/insecticide permethrin can be used on clothing to protect through several washes. Always follow the directions on the package.

  • Wear protective clothing: Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.

  • Install and repair screens: Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

  • Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs near you: Mosquitoes can lay eggs even in small amounts of standing water. Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, and tires. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Empty children's wading pools and store on their side after use.

Find the right insect repellent for you by using EPA’s search toolExternal.

Tips for babies and children

  • Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.

  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.

    * Instead, dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.

    * Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.

  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.

  • Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.

    * Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.

Tips for Everyone

  • Always follow the product label instructions.

  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.

    * Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.

    * If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

In addition, there are excellent resources at these web sites:

The Centers for Disease Control

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Please see the documents attached.

EEE Found In Kent County

How To Protect Your Family From EEE