An independent school in Middletown, DE for students in Preschool through Grade 8

Outdoors and Sun Safety

The primary goal of our outdoor education areas is to provide an environment for children to engage in a variety of activities with as many risks mitigated by proper planning and training.  Spending time in wooded areas brings certain risks that cannot be completely eliminated, but several measures have been implemented to ensure our outdoor spaces are as safe as can be.  

All spaces are routinely manicured and monitored for signs of potential hazards.  The management of the trees surrounding our outdoor classrooms, outdoor equipment maintenance, removal of irritating/stinging plants (such as poison ivy, oak, and sumac), and pest management such as tick and mosquito control are a small part of our comprehensive campus safety plan.  

Our facility/grounds team works in conjunction with the State of Delaware, Department of Natural Resources, to make sure our property is managed and sprayed for mosquitos, stinging insects, and ticks.  In the drop down menu below, there is more information regarding how to best protect your child from these potential threats.

Ticks, Mosquitos, and Stinging Insects

 Due to the difficulty of controlling ticks and mosquitos in large areas, personal protective measures are absolutely necessary when spending time outdoors.  While our campus is routinely sprayed and monitored for tick and mosquito populations, pesticides help discourage the pests rather than eliminate them.  Below you can find a simple list of protective measures to ensure your children are preventing bites and transmission potential for blood-borne illness.

  1. Apply bug repellent daily before school.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing.  Light colors make it easier to locate ticks.  Wear long sleeves, pants, and tall socks whenever possible.
  3. Teach children to check themselves thoroughly after being outdoors, especially if playing in wooded or grassy areas.  Pay particular attention to hairline, in between toes, legs, and private areas. 
  4. Bathe daily after being outdoors and check for insect bites, stings, or ticks.
  5. Promptly and properly remove ticks from skin when found.
  6. Report any incidence of tick bites to Mr. Phillips in order to help monitor your child for symptoms while at school. 
  7. Educate children to not agitate stinging flying insects by swinging at them or trying to kill them, and quickly distance themselves when encountering one while alerting a faculty/staff member. 

Below is a diagram and description on properly removing a tick. 

  • Remove ticks as soon as possible. 
  • If ticks are attached, use tweezers to remove them (Figure below). Use tweezers to grasp ticks as close to an individual’s skin as possible, but do not get so close that you rip skin. The closer you are to the skin the less likely the tick’s head will be left in the skin during removal, as shown in the figure below.
  • Ensuring that the head of the tick is removed with the tick’s body decreases the chances of obtaining a harmful pathogen or causing infection. It’s also difficult to identify a headless tick.
  • Be careful to not scrape at the bite site as that could lead to a bacterial infection as well.
  • Place the tick in a sealed bag or container in case symptoms develop and further testing is necessary.

Here are a couple resources regarding ticks, mosquitos, and preventive measures.

Sun Protection and Sunscreen

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.  It is also one of easiest preventable cancers if  measures are taken to protect the skin from the sun's ultraviolet radiation.  A substantial amount of UV exposure occurs before the age of 18, so incorporating sun safety education as early as possible is vital in preventing skin cancers occurring later in life. 

Listed below are a few steps to help protect your child from sun exposure while at school.

  1. Apply sunscreen before the school day and provide extra for reapplication throughout the day.  We strongly recommend WIPES, as this eliminates problems with leaking bottles or overspray into sensitive areas.
  2. Wear protective clothing outside whenever possible.  Long sleeves, pants, hats, sunglasses, or clothes with UV protection.
  3. Limit exposure time in direct sunlight and utilize shaded areas for the majority of outdoor activities.
  4. Educate your children on preventing skin cancer and the risks of sun exposure.
  5. Be an advocate and model for your children by promoting sun safety!

Here are a few resources with more information on Sun Safety and Children!