Monday, August 8, 2022

University leadership shares guidance in response to monkeypox

University leadership shares guidance in response to monkeypox

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.



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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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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.

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