Threat of New Virus Leads to Cautious Behaviors

Because monkeypox has been a topic of discussion throughout the media recently, there has been some concern across the school and community about how the virus may affect their lives.

“As of today, it has not affected Mansfield High School,” Mansfield High School Nurse Penny Watson said. “Although it is something we need to be on the lookout for because it can affect anyone, we are especially worried about children who are immune compromised.”

While not affecting the school as of recently, it is still vital to understand how it is transferred and its symptoms.

“The main symptoms of the virus are a rash that looks similar to blisters or pimples, as well as a fever, chills and respiratory system problems,” Watson said. “Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.”

Doctors have a treatment to prevent monkeypox. 

“There is a vaccine for the virus,” neurodiagnostic doctor Emile Robinson said. “But there is no actual medication for just monkeypox. You treat it a lot like chickenpox.”

With the virus being genetically similar to smallpox, it is understandable how some may be careful when approaching the topic. Although, certain people said they believe understanding the virus is just as important as trying to avoid it. 

“​I don’t know that we should be wary,” English teacher Cindy Bridges said. “We should be cognizant of its symptoms and how it is spread.”

Teachers are also monitoring the progress of the virus because of past years and how it affected their teaching experience. 

“I am not incredibly worried about it, but I do stay informed,” Bridges said. “As with Covid, I make sure that I am following basic protocols, such as washing my hands more often.”

With Covid being compared to Monkeypox across some platforms, there are similarities and differences between the two.

“Although the sudden emergence of Monkeypox can be alarming after over two years of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, Monkeypox is not a new virus and does not spread in the same way as COVID-19,” Watson said. “Symptoms are the biggest difference, and Monkeypox is less contagious.”

Most dread the thought of another quarantine and the consequences of it. But, students may suffer the worst when it comes to education.

“I believe academics would take an additional hit,” Bridges said. “Without the face-to-face component of learning and the collaboration of your peers, it takes away an integral part of the learning process.”

Practicing good hygiene and smart decisions will keep each individual and the community safer. 

“In total, the virus is not something that should be at the front of everyone’s minds,” Robinson said. “Just be safe and understand the consequences.”