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Reminder: Tick awareness remains important

Filed in District by on May 31, 2017

Every year, the month of May is recognized as Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Though we have said farewell to May, it is important that families continue to be aware of the risk of tick exposure and Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by the deer tick. It may cause symptoms affecting the skin, nervous system, heart and/or joints of an individual. People who spend time in grassy and wooded environments are at an increased risk of exposure. The chances of being bitten by a deer tick are greater during times of the year when ticks are most active, Spring through late Fall.

Bethlehem Central School District is concerned about the health and safety of our school community. Our goal regarding Lyme Disease is to raise awareness and to provide resources from public health authorities. We would like to encourage you to review information regarding how to protect you and your family from Lyme Disease.

Steps BCSD is taking to reduce tick exposure

We would also like to alert you to the steps that we are taking as a District to reduce the tick population in our school environments, fields, and playgrounds:

• Keeping the grass mowed on the fields and the playground areas.
• Removing leaf litter, brush, and weeds at the edge of the lawn areas.
• Removing brush and leaves around fences.
• Discouraging rodent activity by sealing small openings around school buildings.
• Using wood chips and mulches around playground equipment.
• Trimming tree branches and shrubs around the lawn edges to let in more sunlight.
• Maintaining the District’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program with ongoing consultation with Cornell University, as needed.

Why we don’t use pesticides

According to New York State Education Department – “pesticide applications always have the potential to contaminate the school or work environment and expose staff and students to pesticide residues.” (Source: New York State Education Department)

“Under amendments to the State Education Law (Section 409-k) and Social Services Law (Section 390-g), no school or day care center can apply pesticides to any playgrounds, turf, or athletic or playing fields.” (Source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)

Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Webpage — https://www.epa.gov/managing-pests-schools/ticks-and-schools

PDF — https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-11/documents/tick-safety-in-schools.pdf

Albany County Department of Health

http://www.albanycounty.com/Government/Departments/DepartmentofHealth/ProgramsandServices/LymeDisease.aspx

Cornell Cooperative Extension

http://albany.cce.cornell.edu/environment/invasive-pests/deer-tick

New York State Department of Health

http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme/

http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme/fact_sheet.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter

http://www.tickencounter.org/

Maine School IPM Program Fact Sheet

https://www1.maine.gov/dacf/php/integrated_pest_management/school/pest-solutions/documents/me-school-ipm-factsheet_ticks_8-15.pdf