As the summer draws to a close and the fall semester approaches, elementary schools and colleges have been preparing for probable monkeypox outbreaks.
Health officials worry that monkeypox will spread beyond the LGBTQ community and into the general population, with elementary school and college students being the most susceptible. Although monkeypox has almost exclusively spread among men that have sex with men (14,000 of confirmed cases in the U.S.). The Hill claims.
“If transmission can happen via more casual physical contact, as epidemiologists and public health authorities are monitoring and learning in real-time, the virus is ready to spread into the general populace. The youngest members of our society such as toddlers, schoolchildren, and young people in college—are the most vulnerable subpopulations. The risk of unfavorable outcomes is still largest in young kids and the immunosuppressed.”
“Young kids naturally want to play with and touch one other. One of these kids might start a local epidemic of monkeypox among the other kids and their instructors. Many of these kids engage in fun physical contact like wrestling. Such actions come naturally. It is not only pointless to try to restrict or prohibit such physical touch, but doing so could impair the child’s growth.”
It would now be practically hard to immunize such groups against monkeypox because to the restricted supply and special emphasis on the LGBTQ community, which prompted several school districts and institutions to establish their own approach. Penn State has published its own monkeypox guidelines, emphasizing that “everyone is at risk for monkeypox.”
On July 17, 2022, in New York City, people are standing in line to get the monkeypox vaccine prior to the launch of a new mass vaccination facility at the Brooklyn Bushwick Education Campus.
The Penn State recommendations state that “every person is at risk for monkeypox. We firmly advise kids to learn more about monkeypox and take precautions to be safe. The main way that the viral illness monkeypox spreads is via extended close contact. Anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, might be at risk since it is not a sexually transmitted illness (STI). Fever, redness, and enlarged lymph nodes are among the symptoms of monkeypox most often seen.”
Both Drexel University and the Delaware University have made their own rules public.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, LGBTQ student leaders were concerned that the preparation for monkeypox might increase stigma and urged schools to “address the virus head-on, similar to how they handled COVID, while knowing that the viruses are vastly different, in order to decrease stigma.”
Eitan Runyan, president of the Temple University Queer Student Union, stated that he believes that the homophobic moral panic that is starting is more concerning than the virus itself.
Runyan’s worries were echoed by Muggs Leone, a student employee of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at Penn State. I haven’t heard anything, he added, “in terms of the physical safety.”