September 2, 2022 |Monkeypox Information and Safety at Schools
We know that many of our students and families are concerned about the national outbreak of monkeypox and how it could affect our schools. Please note: OKCPS does not have any active or suspected cases of monkeypox. This message is only intended to provide information about monkeypox with our families.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared monkeypox a public health emergency. Its symptoms include a new rash onset, flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. The rash is often discrete, round and firm with a dented center.
While monkeypox is a serious illness and we need to take precautions, it is important to note that it is different from COVID-19 in that it does not appear to spread nearly as easily. We know that it does spread through person-to-person physical contact with an infected person’s rash. It can also spread by coming into contact with items or surfaces that have been touched by an infected person’s rash.
To date, there have been few confirmed cases of monkeypox in children. However, please know that anyone can get monkeypox and it is a public health concern for all. It is not a disease experienced only by members of specific communities.
Many of the steps we are taking with COVID-19 will also help us prevent the potential spread of monkeypox. These include:
- All students and staff will be asked to self-monitor for the symptoms of monkeypox. If they are feeling sick, they should stay home from school. If they are experiencing symptoms, they should consult a healthcare professional right away and notify the school office.
- Students and staff will be frequently reminded about the importance of proper handwashing. Hand sanitizer will continue to be available throughout our buildings.
- We will continue to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout our schools on a frequent basis.
- Monkeypox is confirmed by laboratory testing of the lesion's fluid substance.
- Due to the sensitivity of this outbreak, please ensure we are not taking this situation lightly and communicate accurate information to those who may need to be aware of it.
If there is a confirmed case of monkeypox in your child’s school or classroom, we will notify families as soon as possible. Anyone who has the illness will be asked to stay home until they are no longer experiencing symptoms, per CDC guidelines. If your child has been exposed or has a suspected rash, Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) may contact you for further questions to evaluate your child’s risk for this particular virus.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we work to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff.