Schools Work to Keep West Nile Out

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Parents may be relieved that school is back in session, but with West Nile prevalent in the area, the districts are also providing reassurance that the students are protected.

In fact, it's the heat that district officials say is their biggest ally right now. Many times, gym classes are being kept indoors, and recesses are being closely monitored because of the soaring temperatures. And the fact that mosquitoes are primarily dusk and dawn fliers is also helping them.

Nonetheless, school leaders are urging their students to be educated to the symptoms and how to help prevent West Nile.

"We're just making sure that students are not outside during the early morning hours and late evening hours," said Sandy Farris with Bryan ISD. "We're definitely taking precautions and awareness is a big part of what we're doing right now."

About 20 percent of infected people get flu like symptoms. Less than one percent show serious symptoms, including high fever, disorientation, convulsions and muscle weakness.

With human West Nile cases rising sharply, school districts say they they're doing all they can to keep students safe. That includes clearing all standing water from around schools.

Bryan and College Station will not be providing repellent to students due to potential liability if a student somehow gets sick. They also say students aren't allowed to bring aerosol cans to school.

But with students going to classes early and sometimes practicing for sports late, the districts are asking parents to apply mosquito repellent before school if they see fit, as well as after school for outdoor activities.

"We've tried to communicate with the principals that they obviously be very cognizant of the issue," said Eddie Coulson, College Station's acting superintendent, "and we've communicated well with them so they can obviously educate their children and educate the parents as well. I think, within this community, there's a high level of recognition that there may be an issue."

Both Bryan and College Station school districts say you can call them with any questions on West Nile policies.

To help prevent the disease, avoid being outside for too long at dusk and dawn, apply mosquito repellent with DEET, wear long sleeves and pants if possible, and clear all standing water.