How school districts are preparing for COVID and monkeypox ahead of the school year

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — As the start of the new school year begins, school districts are still looking out for COVID-19 variants and now, monkeypox.

Broken Arrow Public Schools Executive Director of Student Services Derek Blackburn said protocols for infectious viruses hasn’t changed much. The district is still monitoring things like temperatures, communicating with parents, and relaying the message to monitor systems and keep kids home if they’re sick.

There’s even protocols for the potential threat of monkeypox

“If it’s the more severe case in regards to monkeypox, and what I’ve read about the potential that it’s staying on surfaces for long periods of time, we will send our crews in to clean that area, but the likelihood of that happening is still very slim,” he said.

Union School District is relaxing its protocols. Last week, Union School Board approved a new COVID plan which rolled back some procedures they had in place. For example, no longer limiting visitors inside, not cohorting elementary kids at lunchtime, and not mandating masks but still encouraging to wear them in large groups.

However, an epidemiologist with Tulsa County Health Department, Abhishek Shakya, said to continue keeping your distance, washing hands and call your doctor if you’re sick.