(WKBN) — Some students return to the classroom this week but with COVID still an area of concern and the U.S. declaring monkeypox a national health emergency, how prepared are schools and parents?

For the last few school years, COVID has been a major concern, and now as students prepare to head back to the classroom for the 2022 school year the country has declared monkeypox a national health emergency.

“It’s very, very close and prolonged respiratory time where you’re close to each other for a long period of time, so really I’m not concerned right now, the risk is very, very small for children to contract monkeypox,” said Dr. James Kravec with Mercy Health.

He encourages preventative health measures when it comes to any virus.

“We should stay home when we’re sick, cover our cough, wash our hands, use hand sanitizer. If you had a rash or something else on your skin, have it evaluated by your physician, cover the rash,” said Dr. Kravec.

The McDonald Local School District welcomes children back Wednesday. Over the summer months, it’s been preparing for the start of the school year.

“We’re continuing to work with, as Trumbull County Superintendents Association with the Trumbull County Health Department so we’ve had meetings over the last couple of weeks to prepare for the start of the school year,” said Superintendent Kevin O’Connell.

O’Connell said as far as their last meeting with the health department, there were no confirmed monkeypox cases in Trumbull County but it’s something they’ll continue to monitor and adjust to if necessary.

“Certainly some of our guidelines have relaxed a little bit but if we have some kind of an outbreak here we have obviously over the last three years learned to be very flexible and change on a dime so if we need to we will be ready to implement additional safety measures as we start the year,” said O’Connell.

Most parents said while they are concerned about sending their kids back to school from a health aspect, the benefits of socializing with teachers and students outweigh the risks of them contracting COVID or monkeypox.

Hope Parks has a daughter entering second grade.

“For me, it’s very important for her, she’s an only child and she just needs to be there,” said Parks.

Christina Young has three sons returning to school soon and said she has some concerns because kids are constantly touching each other.

“It’s really just teaching your kids the proper efficacy when it comes to being in large crowds — don’t hug, kiss all these kids or anything, just keep your hands to yourself, talk at a distance, it’s still okay to be friendly, give a fist bump, an elbow bump,” said Young.