EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Friday afternoon, officials with the El Paso Department of Public Health issued updated recommendations for this academic year.

Officials “strongly recommended that students, teachers, and staff wear face coverings while indoors.” They added that their recommendations were based on the “continued climb in COVID-19 cases and the importance of the community’s health and wellness, particularly that of students, teachers and school staff.”

Health officials shared that, because an infected person can transmit the COVID-19 virus to others before showing any symptoms, keeping a person’s nose and mouth covered is necessary to help slow the spread of the virus within schools and throughout the community.

For a detailed list of recommendations for elementary, middle school and high school students see “Orders” posted at EPStrong.org.

Officials did point out, however, that public schools are subject to follow policies from their school board and from the Texas Education Agency.

Private schools also follow rules and regulations from their governing board and consider the Department of Public Health recommendations to determine their best course of action.

“We continue to collaborate closely with schools, public and private, providing updated recommendations that will allow students, teachers and staff to be safe and healthy while at school,” said City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza.

“Our community is experiencing a surge of cases among those who are unvaccinated and increasing number of people are requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19 complications.

What is more concerning is that a large percentage of new COVID-19 cases are found in children 0-18 years of age. In-school transmission of the COVID-19 virus is imminent, and we need to continue preventing the spread by continuing to practice prevention such as using a face cover, practicing social distancing, and making it a habit to frequently wash your hands.”

City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza.

Ocaranza said vaccination against COVID-19 is the foundation of all preventative measures and strongly recommended that all eligible individuals get vaccinated or complete their immunization schedule.

For those 18 years of age and older who have completed their immunization schedule, officials say it is also strongly recommended to receive a booster dose of the vaccine at least 6 months after the last vaccine dose if they received the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Individuals who received the Jannsen/J&J shot can receive their booster 2 months after the vaccine dose.

The updated recommendations, which officials say are subject to revisions, can be found at EPStrong.org under the “Orders” tab and the new updated recommendations particularly focuses on masks, vaccinations, and holiday events.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccine or sites, visit EPCOVIDVaccine.com

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