Monkeypox in Schools: Should We Be Worried?


Emma Rivera

As school is beginning, many wonder the toll monkeypox will have.

Despite concerns over the monkeypox virus, Miami-Dade County Public Schools students are returning to school according to schedule. The public health emergency has generated concerns that the virus might spread rapidly in schools. Teens and children have already undergone a pandemic in these past two years, and many are pondering the thought of how far monkeypox will progress in our community. 

Monkeypox is less effective when spreading compared to COVID-19. It requires more close touch or respiratory droplets to be spread, whereas COVID-19 stays in the air longer, clings to surfaces and is easier to spread through contact with another person. Teens and older children in particular have experienced mild cases of monkeypox. Common symptoms for this age group include a mild rash, lesions, fever and sometimes headaches. 

“I think we should listen to the doctors during these times when in doubt,” junior Jayden Solomon said.

Cases of monkeypox in the United States have been escalating rapidly, with nearly 11,000 cases in the country. Locally speaking, there are 405 cases in Miami-Dade County and more than 1,000 cases in Florida. These case counts are causing students, teachers and administrators to fear that the virus will take a toll on schools. Officials stress that it is important to be aware of the risks while avoiding excessive worry. Although this might relieve some of the panic, there are still questions as to what schools plan to do to address this situation. 

“I feel like schools and the government have experience with viruses like this from the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s most likely that schools will go online again or have a hybrid schedule,” sophomore Allison D’Alincourt said.

I hope the US will be able to contain cases before it’s classified as a pandemic, but I believe schools may have to put social distancing back in order if they keep worsening,

— junior Carolina Castro

Regarding safety measures, doctors recommend taking simple precautions to fight monkeypox and stop the spread. These include washing hands, keeping a safe distance and staying informed.

“In terms of precaution, I try keeping a safe distance from most people as often as possible, and I have hand sanitizer on me at all times to use after touching something in a public space. If I do something like thrifting, I use gloves as I sort through the racks of clothing,” junior Carolina Castro said.

Amidst of all this chaos, many are turning to medical professionals for answers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination against monkeypox for people of high risk. These include children under the age of 8, pregnant individuals, those with a weakened immune system and those with a history of eczema or dermatitis. A limited amount of vaccines in Miami have become available in a few spots, including Tropical Park. Public health officials advise individuals to stay informed and keep up with the CDC guidance.