How is the threat of EEE impacting local school sports?

EEE concerns affecting high school practice, game times

MEDFIELD, Mass. — In Medfield, school officials met with town officials to figure out the best way to keep kids out of harm's way with the threat of EEE looming as fall sports get set to begin.

Ultimately, everyone agreed the best move would be to keep kids off the fields at dusk and switch Medfield High School's first home football game next week from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

"I spray his socks and his shorts and his t-shirt every day before he leaves for school," said Medfield mom Eva O’Brien, who isn't taking any risks when it comes to her son and the threat of the EEE virus.

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Medfield is one of 28 Massachusetts towns deemed "critical risk." School officials are now making big changes to the fall athletic schedule for the safety of their students.

Medfield Athletic Director Eric Scott says the school is abiding by the town's 7 p.m. curfew by ensuring student-athletes are off the field before dusk. That means playing their home opener against Norton, next week, under the Saturday afternoon sun instead of those Friday night lights.

"With everyone being in the same boat it’s a matter of picking up the phone, making a decision, contacting the officials and changing those games," Scott said. "We're going to err on the side of safety."

We reached out to 10 school districts in the high-risk area for EEE, with half of them getting back to us by time of publication.

Shrewsbury and Medfield moved their first Friday night games to Saturday.

Grafton and Hopkinton high schools say they're weighing all options when it comes to schedule changes.

On Wednesday, the Town of Walpole announced a curfew for all outdoor school and town events, with games and practices ending by 6:45 p.m. and night games rescheduled for days or weekends until Sept. 14. The town will then implement earlier curfews starting Sept. 15, with all outdoor sports activities ending at 6:30 p.m. and an additional curfew of 6 p.m. starting Oct. 6. The town said the restrictions could be lifted after the "first prolonged frost."