University leadership shares guidelines in response to monkeypox | UTSA Today | UTSA

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8 AUGUST 2022 — Editor’s Note: The following message was emailed today from the President Taylor EighmyProvost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy and Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Veronica Salazar To all faculties, staff and students:

You probably know that the White House recently declared monkeypox a public health emergency. As mentioned in our COVID-19 update, we are closely monitoring this evolving situation. Recovery Operations and other campus partners have worked closely together to support our campus community. We will continue to build on our strong relationships with our public health colleagues at UT System, UT Health San Antonio and San Antonio Metro Health to ensure we continue to make the best decisions for our roadrunner community.

We are writing today to provide an update on how our campus is responding and preparing for monkeypox. Although monkeypox has spread throughout the United States, the current risk to the public remains low at this time.

What is monkey pox?

monkey pox is a rare disease that is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox. While symptoms are similar to smallpox, they are much less severe and are rarely fatal. Most commonly, monkeypox is spread through close, intimate contact with an infected person.

It is important to note that it is monkeypox completely different against the virus that causes COVID-19, especially in relation to its spread. The monkeypox virus is not known to be airborne and not transmitted during short periods of shared airspace, making it very unlikely to spread in classrooms. Currently, most students are considered low-risk.

What you can do

With current information suggesting that monkeypox is spread through close, personal contact with an infected person, there are many easy ways to protect yourself. The CDC recommends Avoid close skin contact with anyone who has a rash that looks like monkeypox, avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used, and practice washing your hands frequently, especially before eating or touching your face.

If you have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms, stay home. Students should contact their doctor or Wellness 360. On-campus testing, vaccine information and isolation guidance are available to students through Wellness 360. Faculty and staff who are symptomatic or have been exposed should contact their physician for testing, as well as the Occupational Health Staff Health and Safety Guide.

If you test positive for monkeypox, follow your doctor’s instructions. Wear a face mask and avoid direct contact with others until all symptoms have gone. Most importantly, stay home and follow CDC Insulation Instructions.

What we do

We know that news of another infectious disease is concerning, especially given our ongoing response to COVID-19. Campus mental health resources are available to students through Wellbeing Services and to faculty and staff through the Employee Assistance Program.

Part of UTSA’s robust response to COVID-19 has been to enhance and expand our campus sanitization protocols and procedures. This practice continues, with regular disinfection of high-touch areas across our campus using cleaning supplies and procedures designed to do so EPA Guide for effective inactivation of viral pathogens.

Although effective monkeypox vaccines exist, supplies are currently limited. Currently the CDC recommends Vaccination for people who have been exposed to, or are more likely to get, monkeypox. San Antonio Metro Health is currently providing vaccines to those in greatest need priority groups.

More information on monkeypox and its public health implications will become available in the coming weeks and months as researchers and public health officials continue to learn more about the current outbreak. We encourage you to refer to the CDC for the latest information and guidance.

As we prepare for the start of the fall semester, let’s continue to support each other and take the necessary steps to protect our health and the health of our fellow Roadrunners. We will continue to work closely with our public health partners and stand ready to adapt to future guidance as needed. Rest assured that we will keep the Roadrunner community informed as important updates become available.

As always, our commitment to shared governance remains key to our ability to respond effectively to this evolving situation. We continue to value the contributions of our shared governance partners: Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and Student Government Association, as well as our Department Chairs Council. Thank you for your support and commitment to campus health and safety.

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