COVID Update: Fall Plans
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
As we approach the fall semester, and a new variant of the coronavirus emerges, I want to share with you our plans.
Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to care for each other. As I’ve traveled in recent weeks around the state and country, I am reminded how fortunate we are to live in El Paso, where families and neighbors have pulled up their sleeves and been vaccinated against COVID-19 at very high rates. As of Monday, 81.4% of those 12 and over in El Paso have had at least one dose of vaccine. As a result, we are not seeing the severity of lingering pandemic impacts other regions are currently experiencing.
We are thankful El Paso has one of the highest vaccination rates in Texas. This puts us in a different place than we were at the start of the pandemic. We have more tools and more protection. UTEP expects to move forward as planned with in-person fall semester activities.
As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, the University will continue to actively monitor the situation. We’ve learned a lot, adapted and improvised over the last 18 months while continuing to teach, research and serve. We will continue our transition back to campus as we have been doing over the summer. Masks are not required on campus, though they are highly encouraged for those who have not been vaccinated. The CDC is also currently recommending for El Paso County that people wear masks indoors whether or not they have been vaccinated. As things change, we will keep communicating with you.
Please join me in offering caring, positive encouragement to colleagues, friends and family who are not vaccinated to discuss getting vaccinated with a healthcare provider. This helps protect them from COVID-19. It also protects those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or because there is not a vaccine for young children yet. The best way to reduce the impact of this virus on our lives is for people to be vaccinated.
If you are not vaccinated, getting vaccinated has never been easier. Visit epcovidvaccine.com to find the numerous sites where you can receive a free COVID-19 vaccination. In many cases, you don’t even need an appointment. Free transportation to a vaccine site is also available. The vaccine is now available to everyone 12 years of age and older.
We have learned a lot in the past year, and we have new tools, brought to us by people who have chosen to educate themselves. These tools of science and medicine have given us miracles for health that our parents and grandparents never could have imagined. I look forward to the start of the fall semester educating the next generation and advancing discovery to make life better.