Boston Public Schools reports its first monkeypox case

An unidentified "adult member" from BPS is in quarantine. Families who are at risk have been contacted.

School and health officials told families Monday morning that an “adult member” from Boston Public Schools has been infected with monkeypox, the district’s first reported case.

The affected adult’s identity and job title have not yet been released, nor has the name of the school.

Officials said the unidentified building was disinfected over the weekend, and the affected individual will quarantine “until it is safe to be around others.”

“The health and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority,” said the school district in a statement to families obtained by WCVB. “We have worked closely with the BPHC and the affected person to identify and notify exposed individuals. We have also worked closely with the impacted school community to share this information.”

Families who received an individual call were told that their school community is affected, according to the statement. Those who did not receive a phone call are not at risk of infection at this time.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in an unrelated press conference that appropriate action has been taken. “The contract tracing has been done, there’s been limited exposure, and everyone who has needed to have resources and vaccinations have been contacted, and that is being made available out of an abundance of caution,” she said.

Several school districts across the country have also reported monkeypox infections toward the start of the school year. Ridge Point High School in Fort Bend County, Texas, confirmed its second case among students last Thursday, September 15.

“It’s a little bit scary. We haven’t really heard much about it,” one student said in an interview with Click2Houston.

A positive case was also reported in an elementary school in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in late August. A letter was sent to the community informing them that an unnamed individual at Dacula Elementary School tested positive for the virus.

“I want to reassure you, we are taking this situation very seriously and the risk of monkeypox transmission in a school setting is very minimal,” a spokesperson for the GCPS said in the letter.

According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been a total of 23,893 confirmed cases.

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Read the full statement sent to Boston Public School families below:

“Dear BPS Families,

The health and well-being of our students and staff is a top priority. With that in mind, we wanted to share an important update with you that the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) informed us that an adult member of our BPS community has been diagnosed with monkeypox.

We have worked closely with the BPHC and the affected person to identify and notify exposed individuals. We have also worked closely with the impacted school community to share this information.

If you did not receive an individual call or a specific school communication, your school community is not impacted. We are sharing this information in accordance with our commitment to transparency and educational awareness.

In general, the risk of monkeypox transmission to the community remains very low.

While this may be difficult to process, especially after the last several school years, we want you to know that we are here for you. We assure you that we are doing everything to ensure the health and safety of all of our schools.

You can find more information about monkeypox on the City of Boston’s website.

As recommended by the BPHC, the infected person will stay home (isolate) until it is safe to be around others. BPHC will offer vaccines to those who we have identified as exposed contacts. Exposed contacts may continue their normal activities as long as they do not have symptoms consistent with monkeypox.

This weekend, we cleaned and disinfected the entire impacted school building as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We will continue to keep you updated. Thank you for your continued partnership to make all our schools healthy, safe and welcoming places for all our students and staff.”

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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