MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile County Public Schools, in response to the prevalence of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the community, issued a clear message about masks Tuesday afternoon. The district “strongly recommends” students and staff wear masks in schools.

The announcement came in a latter from Superintendent Chresal Threadgill. Threadgill wrote that the district had met with Mobile County Health Department officials and joins MCHD in emphasizing mask wearing, writing, “if we all work together, particularly over the next couple of weeks, wear masks while indoors, practice social distancing, properly wash our hands, and stay home when we are sick, we can overcome this COVID-19 wave, as we have overcome previous waves.”

Students are set to return to classrooms on Wednesday, Jan. 5. Threadgill wrote that the district will “assess positive cases daily, and make further decisions as warranted.”

Threadgill also asked visitors not to enter school buildings until COVID cases start dropping.

“As always, the health and well-being of all #TeamMCPSS members are a priority,” Threadgill wrote. “Therefore, we all must be committed to doing our part to ensure everyone’s safety. Our school-based health officials will continue enforcing the same COVID-19 quarantine and isolation requirements established by the Alabama Department of Public Health that we implemented throughout the first semester.”

Threadgill encouraged parents to keep an eye on their children for COVID symptoms, and to keep them home and have them tested for COVID when they do have symptoms. Threadgill also encouraged parents to talk to their doctors about having their children vaccinated.

“Remember: Students who properly wear facemasks are less likely to catch and spread COVID-19 and are less likely to be identified to follow quarantine requirements,” Threadgill wrote.