How colleges are preparing for a new public health threat: monkeypox

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2022-08-06 12:00:06

Andrea Connor has become "the accidental COVID Czar" of Lake Forest College, a small school north of Chicago where she serves as dean of students.

"There's a lot of fear, a lot of concern," Connor says. "So we want to educate people." Her team is putting together guidance detailing monkeypox signs and symptoms, and what a student should do if they think they might be infected. Monkeypox is much less contagious than COVID-19, but Connor says it's a school's job to be prepared.

Ahead of the new school year, colleges across the country are repurposing the tools they developed during the pandemic to address the monkeypox outbreak, which the White House recently declared a public health emergency. It's a different virus, with different risks, and colleges are having to adapt, says Dr. Lindsey Mortenson of the American College Health Association (ACHA).

"Many colleges and universities are thinking about 'how do we turn the page institutionally?" Mortenson says. " 'How do we take all of these public health informed practices and apply them in a different context?' "

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