How Colleges Are Bracing For Monkeypox

Colleges and universities are ramping up efforts to stop the spread of the monkeypox virus, as positive cases begin popping up on campuses.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Fresh off the heels of one life-impeding virus, a brand new illness is said to be making its way across the globe with serious outbreaks that are alarming governments and scientists alike. While schools in America are back to normal operations that focus on keeping campuses open and operating with COVID-19, colleges and universities are now bracing for another type of outbreak. Monkeypox has now been declared both a global and national emergency, and schools are taking measures to help prevent its spread.

The monkeypox virus, which is similar to smallpox, is a rash-like illness that has been around for decades but has begun spreading more commonly in humans as of late. By the numbers, there are still few reported cases in the nation, but given the trending uptick in reported positive cases, colleges have already begun to enact protocols and procedures that outline how they will handle outbreaks. Some schools are already reporting cases and luckily have many tools already in place from COVID precautions that are helping reduce the risk of spread.

Colleges and universities across the United States already have extensive protocols in place to brace for COVID outbreaks. These practices include thorough cleaning measures, plans for remote learning, and means for student isolation for positive cases. While the monkeypox virus is much different the COVID, these safety measures are helping schools brace for monkeypox outbreaks. Considering the fact that while most campuses have just recently welcomed students back, or are just preparing for the return to school, the fact that colleges are already reporting cases is reason enough to prepare.

According to reports from NPR, monkeypox has already been recorded on some campuses around the country. Georgetown University in Washing, D.C., the University of Texas in Austin, and West Chester University in Pennsylvania are a few examples where schools have reported at least one case of the virus. These schools are isolating students to help deter the spread any further.

While monkeypox is said to be transferred to others through a variety of ways, typically it is spread through physical contact. The illness tends to cause painful rashes on the face, feet, hands, genitals, and mouth. However, the virus can also cause fevers, headaches, and body aches. Because of its tendency to spread through sexual contact, many colleges are taking caution by informing students about how the virus spreads.

Other than keeping students informed about how monkeypox is transmitted, schools are taking other precautions as well. They are ramping up efforts to keep locker rooms, gyms, and anywhere else where students may commonly come into close contact with each other sanitized. Since the virus has a contagious stage that can last for multiple weeks, schools are bracing to keep positive students isolated for longer, which oftentimes means working with remote learning options for a hefty portion of the semester.


To date, there are over 7,500 cases of monkeypox across the United States. While this number is still extremely low, schools aren’t taking the matter lightly. Just three days ago, there were hundreds less as the rate had just toppled 7,000. Luckily, schools are better prepared for viral outbreaks that could disrupt education than ever before, but given the means to how the virus is spreading, and the prolonged isolation needed, schools are preparing for the worst.