‘Pretty nervous’: Students worry about monkeypox outbreak as colleges prepare

SPOKANE, Wash. — Monkeypox cases are on the rise across the nation, and local universities are trying to get ahead of an outbreak before it creates chaos.

Some college students were back on campus on Monday, but concerns are growing another public health crisis could disrupt their learning again.

“My friends and I, we have talked about it,” said Cam McCann, a sophomore broadcast major.

McCann’s seen the monkeypox rashes all over social media because it’s sweeping the nation, and he’s worried it could alter his sophomore year.

“It’s definitely kind of a shock factor when you hear about it and you hear something like shutdown and those kind of trigger words,” he said.

Local universities aren’t preparing to go back online, but they are taking the disease seriously. Washington State University has a page on its website telling students to see a doctor if they develop a new rash.

“I’m pretty nervous about it,” said Morgan Erickson. She’s a junior nursing major.

Erickson’s always concerned about new diseases.

“I’m also nervous about it from the public health aspect in that I’m going into nursing,” she added. “I’m not sure how that’s going to affect our overall public health systems.”

Both the University of Idaho and the Community Colleges of Spokane tell 4 News Now they’re monitoring monkeypox closely and would report cases to the health district.

WSU is also offering monkeypox testing through cougar health services.

Even if monkeypox is a concern, students hope schools are better prepared to deal with the disease.

“I’m excited to tackle it,” McCann concluded.

“I think that we can learn from some of the things that we’ve taken through COVID and be able to apply them to this new outbreak,” Erickson said.

While vaccines are in short supply, there are doses in the Inland Northwest. The Spokane Regional Health District clinic will start host a vaccine clinic on Tuesday..

READ: Spokane Heath District hosting monkeypox vaccine clinic August 23