CDC releases guidance for schools, daycares on Monkeypox

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:54 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance for schools and daycares about Monkeypox.

Health experts say the risk of monkeypox to children and adolescents in the United States is low at this time.

But there are some frequently asked questions that administrators and staff of K-12 schools, early childhood education, programs, camps and more can get answered.


Some of the questions answered include:

  • Should I get tested if I have been exposed to someone with monkeypox?

The department of health will provide guidance for people exposed to monkeypox on how to monitor for symptoms. Unless a rash develops after exposure, there is not currently a test for monkeypox. If a rash develops, an individual should follow isolation and prevention practices until (1) the rash can be evaluated by a healthcare provider, (2) testing is performed, if recommended by the healthcare provider, and (3) results of testing are available and are negative.

  • What do we do if there is a case of monkeypox in our setting?

If someone with monkeypox has been in a school, ECE, or other setting serving children or adolescents, the setting should follow their everyday operational guidance to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases and add enhanced cleaning and disinfection.

  • Clean the classroom/space: The areas where the person with monkeypox spent time should be cleaned and disinfected before further use. Focus on disinfecting items and surfaces that were in direct contact with the skin of the person with monkeypox, or often in the presence of the person with monkeypox. If unsure, disinfect. Follow the guidance for Disinfecting the Home and Other Non-Healthcare Settings to clean and disinfect surfaces, floors, and shared items such as toys, learning materials, sports equipment, or uniforms used by the person with monkeypox. Caring for our Children and Caring for Our Children provide information on how to clean and sanitize items that may go into the mouth, like utensils and certain toys. Linens or towels that the person with monkeypox used should be laundered. Items that cannot be cleaned, disinfected, or laundered should be thrown away. Children, staff (other than those who are cleaning and disinfecting), and volunteers should not enter the area until cleaning and disinfection is completed. General guidance on cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting can be found in Caring for Our Children.
  • Support the health department in contact tracing: Contact tracing can help identify people with exposure to someone with monkeypox and may prevent additional cases. Settings serving children and adolescents should contact their health department if a person with confirmed monkeypox has been in their facility and should support efforts to identify individuals who might have been exposed to the virus.
  • Communicate: Provide information about preventing the spread of monkeypox to staff members, volunteers, students (when age appropriate), and parents. Keep messages fact-based to avoid introducing stigma.
  • When can someone with monkeypox return to our setting?

Monkeypox causes a rash with lesions that eventually scab over. People with monkeypox should prioritize isolation and prevention practices until all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed. This may take as long as 4 weeks after symptoms began. Caregivers should work with a healthcare provider and the department of health to decide when the child or adolescent can return to the educational setting.

Staff or volunteers who have monkeypox should isolate and be restricted from the workplace according to CDC’s isolation and prevention practices. Employers should provide flexible, non-punitive sick leave policies for staff members.

A general overview and further information on monkeypox can be found on the Monkeypox Frequently Asked Questions page. Signs and symptoms of monkeypox are also described.

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