OSDH Working To Address Monkeypox Concerns Ahead Of The New School Year


With school now back in session, some Oklahoma school districts, and parents have concerns about the potential spread of monkeypox in the classroom.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says several school districts have approached them about preparing for a potential outbreak.

State Epidemiologist Jolianne Stone says schools want to be sure they are doing everything they can to protect both students and staff. Stone said schools will likely not experience large outbreaks similar to COVID-19, since monkeypox is not as easily spread. She says districts should be educating families about the infectious disease, so they know what the signs and symptoms are to look out for. Schools should also review their sick leave policies.

“To ensure some of those not only address COVID but monkeypox and to state that if you do have students with any type of rash illness that have a fever that they need to stay at home and be evaluated by a health care provider,” Jolianne Stone, State Epidemiologist, said.

The state health department is now working on priority groups to receive the monkeypox vaccine. They will soon transition into the second phase of the monkeypox vaccine strategy.

“We are working with our community partners and we are working with other individuals with how we can ensure we reach the individuals that need to be reached and that we are equitable in our vaccine distribution plan,” Jolianne Stone, State Epidemiologist, said.

Stone says next week, the OSDH is hoping they can share an updated plan with the public to get vaccinated if they are eligible.