AUGUST 8, 2022 — Editor’s note: The following message was sent today via email from President Taylor Eighmy, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy and Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Veronica Salazar to all faculty, staff and students:
You are likely aware that the White House recently declared monkeypox a public health emergency. As noted in our COVID-19 update, we are closely monitoring this developing situation. Recovery Operations and other campus partners have been closely working together to provide support to our campus community. We will continue to build upon 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 to 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 monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease that is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox. While the 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 individual.
It is important to note that monkeypox is completely different from the virus that causes COVID-19, especially in terms of how it spreads. The monkeypox virus is not known to linger in the air and is not transmitted during short periods of shared airspace, making it very unlikely to spread in classroom settings. At this time, most students are considered to be at low risk.
What you can do
Because current information indicates that monkeypox spreads through close, personal contact with an infected person, there are many easy ways to protect yourself. The CDC recommends avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox, avoiding contact with objects and materials a person with monkeypox has used, and practicing frequent handwashing, especially before eating or touching your face.
If you are exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms, stay home. Students should contact their physician or Wellness 360. On-campus testing, vaccine information and isolation guidance is 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 Occupational Health for employee health and safety guidance.
If you test positive for monkeypox, follow guidance from your health care provider. Wear a face mask and avoid direct contact with others until all symptoms resolve. Most importantly, stay home and follow CDC isolation guidance.
What we’re doing
We know that news about another infectious disease is concerning, especially in light of 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 involved enhancing and expanding our campus disinfection protocols and procedures. This practice will continue, with regular disinfection of high-touch areas throughout our campuses using cleaning agents and processes aligning with EPA guidance for effective inactivation of viral pathogens.
While there are effective vaccines against monkeypox, supplies are limited at this time. Currently, the CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox or are more likely to get monkeypox. San Antonio Metro Health is currently providing vaccines to individuals in greatest need according to priority groups.
More information about monkeypox and its public health impact will be 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 one another 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 we are prepared to adapt to future guidance as needed. Rest assured that we will keep the Roadrunner community informed as any important updates become available.
As always, our commitment to shared governance remains key to our ability to effectively respond to this developing situation. We continue to appreciate the input provided by our shared governance partners: Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and the Student Government Association, as well as our Department Chairs Council. Thank you for your support and dedication to campus health and safety.
The Racial Justice Book Club was established at UTSA by members of the campus community to explore social justice following acts of racial violence across the nation over the last few years. We are reading The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Muñoz Martinez. We will meet every Wednesday in September and October at 2 pm on Zoom.Virtual Event
This September 30, the Friday Series will feature Prof. Milena Ang, who will be presenting A Tren to Nowhere: Statistic Development and the Politics of Racial, a paper co-authored with Tania Islas-Weistein where they discuss Mexico's long history of state-led development projects that contribute to economic and racial inequality. The authors argue that despite professing racial justice, official discourses surrounding the Tren Maya reproduce existing symbolic and material forms of racism.McKinney Humanities (MH 4.01.01,) Main Campus
The UTSA Libraries will be hosting a panel discussion on Latiné/x-centric voting and voting rights!Bexar Room (H-E-B SU 1.102,) Main Campus
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our campus community a safer, more caring place to learn. It will be held Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at Main campus from 6:00pm-8:00pm on the Student Union Paseo.Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
Join Wellbeing Services, UTSA Recovery Operations, and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District as we have an informational Q&A session with guest speaker Dr. Anita Kurian from San Antonio Metropolitan Health District discussing Monkeypox.Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02,) Main Campus
We invite you to learn about the process of screenwriting and explore the intersection of identity and pursuing dreams from Jorge Ramirez-Martinez and Raymond Perez, screenwriters for the Selena: The Series, released on Netflix. They will discuss their careers and writing process, including how their identities as Mexican American and gay men have shaped their professional experiences.Virtual Event
Please join us in remembering those who have entered the next part of life by designing a nicho box in their memory. This workshop will provide the necessary items to create your nicho box, though please remember to bring a photo or small object that can fit in a 3.5 x5x1 inch box (small jewelry box).John Peace Library GroupSpot B, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.