Monkeypox: What to know as back-to-school season looms in DC, Maryland and Virginia

School is almost back in session in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and after years of worrying about COVID-19, many students and parents are now wondering whether they should be concerned about monkeypox as well.

"I’m a public health major, so it’s right on the forefront of my mind," George Washington University student Lauryn Renford said Monday.

Cases have already been reported at local universities, including Georgetown, American, and GWU.

"How is this going to impact, the rest of our school year?" GWU student Arlo Smaldone asked.

READ MORE: DC Health expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility requirements

"I’m interested in knowing if it’s going to be as bad as COVID," added recent GW grad and current staff member Busola Akinyera.

FOX 5 turned to Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security for answers.

"What we’ll see is this isn’t a disruptive force in schools the way COVID-19 had the capacity to be," he said.

Adalja explained that monkeypox is primarily spreading in a concentrated sexual social network. He said that for younger students in grade school, it’s unlikely to be a major issue.

For college kids, he still doesn’t see it as a major issue, although he thinks schools should have a proactive plan in place.

"It’s important that colleges, universities have ways for students to access testing, ways for students to access antivirals, ways to access vaccines, and also isolation if necessary," Adalja added.

READ MORE: Monkeypox Outbreak: Should DC area schools be concerned?

Adalja also told FOX 5 that he thinks students who fall into high-risk categories should consider being vaccinated for monkeypox, however, he says, "this is not something that I think should be a universal vaccine for all college students. I think you really want to target the vaccine to where it’s going to have the most impact."

You can click here for more information about monkeypox from the CDC.