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San Diego doctor talks student safety amid COVID-19, monkeypox outbreaks

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Posted at 11:48 AM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 15:05:32-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The first bell rings just after seven o'clock Wednesday morning for Poway and Cajon Valley students.

It's the second school year students are experiencing their new normal.

School in the midst of a public health emergency.

"Precautions for both monkeypox and covid is to avoid close contact. Avoid touching- high touch areas. So if you just follow what your mom told you- wash your hands," said Dr. William Tseng.

Dr. Tseng isn't just a doctor, he's a parent with two children who are heading back to the classroom soon.

"I'm not sure they're excited to go back to school yet, but they are excited to see their friends again," he said. "I would say if you're concerned at all send them with a mask."

The CDC updated COVID-19 guidance just ahead of the return to the classroom. It's a move Dr. Tseng said is reasonable and safe.

"What they said was essentially, 'Hey, if you do show up to school sick, wear a mask send the kid home, make sure they get tested, but if you're just exposed there is no need to go home to quarantine," he explained.

Less than 50% of children ages 5 through 11 have one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to county data.

He said the best form of protection against COVID-19 is to get your child vaccinated.

"A lot of parents have this idea that it really doesn't affect kids that much. If you look at the omicron surge, kids were the ones predominately affected by this because they were unvaccinated," said Dr. Tseng.

As for monkeypox, Dr. Tseng says it transmits mostly by close contact. There have been 134 cases of monkeypox reported to the county as of August 11.

While the youngest person with a case in San Diego is 21, anyone can get the virus.

He says a recommendation for schools is to clean surfaces.

"Don't use towels, use paper where you can throw it away. Avoid high-touch areas- those are all that we need to do. You've got to remember monkeypox is very easily killed," he said.