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The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

OC Vector officials confirm mistake in failing to remove West Nile virus warning signs outside Sunny Hills in December

The+Orange+County+Mosquito+and+Vector+Control+District+provides+the+community+with+information+regarding+the+potential+dangers+of+the+West+Nile+virus+and+what+can+spread+it.+The+website+also+offers+contact+information+for+the+public+to+ask+questions%2C+and+that%E2%80%99s+how+The+Accolade+learned+of+the+district%E2%80%99s+oversight+in+taking+three+months+longer+than+expected+to+remove+%E2%80%9CPUBLIC+HEALTH+NOTICE%E2%80%9D+signs+warning+about+West+Nile+virus+dangers+outside+the+Sunny+Hills+campus+and+Raytheon+Co.
Image used with permission from Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District
The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District provides the community with information regarding the potential dangers of the West Nile virus and what can spread it. The website also offers contact information for the public to ask questions, and that’s how The Accolade learned of the district’s oversight in taking three months longer than expected to remove “PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE” signs warning about West Nile virus dangers outside the Sunny Hills campus and Raytheon Co.

In response to a Thursday, March 28, Accolade online article about “PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE” signs related to the West Nile Virus being removed around the Sunny Hills campus, Vector control officials confirmed their oversight in leaving them up much longer than expected.

Vector control officials said they had seasonal assistants tie the 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches high signs on Monday, Oct. 23, outside the Sunny Hills west parking lot and behind Raytheon Co. on Benchley Street.

But instead of removing them in December when the West Nile virus risk was low, officials didn’t realize they had missed collecting them from this section of the city until The Accolade contacted Vector control about them last month.

That prompted their removal on Wednesday, March 6, according to a Friday, March 29, email from Miquel Jacobs, director of communications for the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District [OC Vector].

Jacobs had written about the oversight in an earlier email response to The Accolade’s question regarding the publication’s interest in using statistics about the number of positive West Nile virus mosquito samples in the Fullerton area from its website as an infographic for its story posted last week.

“That public health advisory was intended for the fall 2023 timeframe — no West Nile Virus public health advisory is currently in effect for the Fullerton area; nor has there been one in the first two months of the 2024 calendar year,” the communications director wrote. “Thank you for bringing to our attention that this advisory notice was not included in our take-down process.”

The “PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE” signs outside the school’s west parking lot were removed Wednesday, March 6. Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District seasonal assistants tied the notices Monday, Oct. 23, around posts outside of campus and behind Raytheon Co. (Photo by Asaph Li)

Most students were critical of OC Vector’s mistake in leaving the placards up for three extra months when the West Nile virus threat no longer existed.

“I didn’t know that they were up too long, though I noticed the signs were really faded,” junior Maya Kew-Layton said. “I think the lateness to take down the signs is disappointing, but better than being late to put them up.”

Sophomore Cha Cha Hallawaarachchi said he also feels better now that the signs are gone.

“I was a little worried, and I started wearing baggier clothes just in case,” Hallawaarachchi said. “I feel a lot safer now; I can go back to wearing normal clothing.”

The sophomore also said OC Vector should have been more efficient in taking down the notices. 

“I feel like that’s a sign of laziness,” Hallawaarachchi said.

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Justin Pak, News Editor
After spending his first year on The Accolade staff as a copy editor, junior Justin Pak returns as the news editor. Through journalism, he aims to strengthen his writing and time management skills. In his free time, Pak enjoys sleeping.
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