Local colleges taking precautions against monkeypox, COVID, even as excited students prepare for 1st ‘normal’ year in a while | Lehigh Valley Regional News

It’s back to school for college students across the Lehigh Valley and for many, it’s their first “normal” year after the coronavirus pandemic.

But with another virus to contend with, local college campuses are still taking precautions. Monkeypox was recently declared a public health emergency. Universities say they’re working to make sure students are safe from both monkeypox and the coronavirus.

Orientation time at DeSales University was packed with first-year students taking part in several days of fun and games before classes start on Wednesday. All of them grouped together, unmasked, but all feeling healthy and safe.

“These next few days are specifically designed for the first-year students,” DeSales senior Mary Bushner says. “I think this class in particular was so enthusiastic because they missed a lot during high school.”

For her brother Joe, an incoming freshman, he says it’s been years since he’s had a normal school year.

“It was definitely hard because the end of my sophomore year was when the lockdown started,” Joseph Bushner says. “At that point, I didn’t really go out much with friends. Definitely a little bit of depression set in, so I am so happy to be back together. It’s an unbelievable excitement.”

“It’s definitely a lot more normal on campus,” Ellie Degeorges of Lehigh University says. “It’s great to see everyone walking around.”

In Bethlehem at Lehigh University, students there say seeing more students is a welcome sight.

“I’m a senior now so the last time it was like this was when I was a freshman,” Lehigh senior Aliza Lev says.

But with the exciting scenes of normalcy, comes a bit of hesitation as well. Monkeypox was recently declared a public health emergency, leaving some students concerned.

“From the student athletes definitely because it might interrupt the season as far as the monkeypox or anything else that might happen so definitely yes, we’re definitely worried,” Lehigh University’s Xavier Noble says.

Both DeSales and Lehigh have monkeypox precautions already in place, along with COVID guidelines.

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