WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Monkeypox is now a national emergency and we’re still navigating a pandemic. As the school year is approaching, community colleges across Eastern North Carolina are preparing for what a new semester may look like.

With COVID-19 cases rising and over 6,000 monkeypox cases in the United States, campus officials said safety for anyone on campus is their priority.

Richy Huneycutt with Lenoir Community College said in a statement, “Safety of our students, faculty and staff and visitors continue to be our number one concern.” They said they will continue to follow all regulations the state and CDC recommend.

Rob Goldberg with Pitt Community College also said in a statement, “it is my understanding administrators are looking into the COVID/monkeypox issue and determining a course of action.”

Goldberg said the college encourages everyone to wear masks inside PCC facilities, but it is not mandatory. Masks are also optional at Lenior Community College.

Both statements come as the state is seeing close to 100 monkeypox cases. Only one has been confirmed in Pitt County. Health experts said students returning to campus should be concerned, but should not panic.