Monkeypox (MPX) and Schools FAQ (source CDC)
Should settings serving children and adolescents worry about MPX?
At this time (updated 8/25/22), the risk of MPX to children and adolescents in the United States is low. MPX virus can infect anyone – including children – if they have close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact with someone who has MPX. Although less common in the current outbreak, MPX may also spread by touching contaminated objects (such as toys or eating utensils), fabrics (clothing, bedding, sleeping mats, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with MPX.
Should students, staff, and volunteers get vaccinated against MPX?
At this time, there is no need for widespread vaccination for MPX among children or staff at K-12 schools or early childhood settings.
Should a student, staff, or parent/guardian with a rash get tested for MPX?
Currently, the risk of MPX to children and adolescents is low. Several illnesses can cause a rash and fever in children, such as hand-foot-mouth disease and chickenpox (varicella). For a child without a known exposure to MPX, a fever and rash should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. A healthcare provider can determine what treatment or testing the child needs. It is important to avoid stigma and fear-based exclusion of children and adolescents.
There are also multiple potential causes of rashes in adults. Parents, teachers, and staff members should understand the symptoms of MPX and see a healthcare provider if they remain concerned.
What should I do if my child or I has a known exposure to MPX?
The Public Health Department will provide guidance for people exposed to MPX on how to monitor for symptoms. Unless a rash develops after exposure, there is not currently a test for MPX. 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.
If a child, parent, or teacher is being monitored for MPX due to an exposure, refer to “What should we do if someone being monitored for MPX develops symptoms?” for what to do in these situations.
When can someone with MPX return to school?
MPX causes a rash with lesions that eventually scab over. People with MPX should follow 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. Parent(s)/guardian(s) should work with a healthcare provider and the Public Health to decide when the child or adolescent can return to the educational setting.
Staff or volunteers who have MPX should isolate and be restricted from the workplace according to CDC’s isolation and prevention practices.
For more information about MPX, please visit these Public Health webpages: