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UMass moves to limit outdoor events at night

Campus departments and organizations are being encouraged to reschedule outdoor events or move them indoors after Amherst was declared a high-risk community for the mosquito-borne illness.

The dusk-to-dawn ban on outdoor events comes from recommendations from the state Department of Public Health and will remain in effect until the first hard frost.

The only UMass games affected are two field hockey games against Lowell (Sept. 3) and Harvard (Sept. 6). Start times will be moved to 5.

The decision to reschedule evening events was made in consultation with Amherst town officials, recommended by campus health and safety officials and approved by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

It comes a day after Amherst officials put out a similar warning, though some outdoor events remain scheduled in the coming weeks, including a return of the Amherst Rotary Community Fair on the Town Common from Aug. 21 through Aug. 24, a carnival at Kendrick Park Sept. 7 and the Amherst Business Improvement Block Party Sept. 12.

Campus employees, visitors and students are being advised of the EEE risk and steps they can take to protect their health. Information is also being sent to parents of students and educational efforts will continue into September after students return.

All members of the campus community are urged to limit evening outdoor activities and to take precautions such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants and avoiding areas where mosquitoes are prevalent.

Insect repellent will be available at University Health Services and the University Store.

In addition, the UMass grounds staff is applying larvicide to areas of standing water to prevent mosquito breeding.

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