EEE, School Start Times Top BoH Agenda

July 27, 2020

At their July 20 meeting, the Bedford Board of Health discussed an emergency order regarding reusable bag use, heard updates from community social worker Chris Bang, discussed school start times, and planned for the expected Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) outbreak.

Update from Community Social Worker

Community Social Worker Chris Bang provided an update on the town’s JGMS food pantry. Bang said that the food pantry will continue into August and will likely last for additional months as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

Bang also discussed various initiatives that he is working on, including a mentorship program for Bedford High School students. The initiative is still in the planning phase, but more information is expected in the coming weeks.

School Start Time

Former Bedford High student Jesse Meltz addressed the Board of Health on a proposal to push the High School’s start time until later in the morning. Meltz’s proposal originated several years earlier in 2012 when Meltz was a student at the High School. Board of Health member Ann Kiessling joined Meltz in encouraging the Board to push the School Committee for a later start time for the High School, which would align better with students’ natural sleep patterns. Meltz and Kiessling explained their support for the proposal was due to research correlating sleep loss with depression.

The Board of Health voted to write the School Committee, encouraging a delay in High School start times to better support students’ health. Members of the Board of Health hoped that changes in the school schedules due to Covid-19 might be an opportunity to adjust school times.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) – Discussion and Planning 

Director of Health and Human Services Heidi Porter spoke about Bedford’s response to the ongoing EEE outbreak. Porter said that Bedford was in a far better position than before in mitigating the risk of EEE due to the town’s response in 2019 and with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Porter discussed the state and federal response to EEE as the town has raised concerns about the lack of action surrounding mosquito control programs. BoH members, led by Porter, decided to write another letter to various elected officials to help fix inconsistencies within the state and federal government’s response to EEE.


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