SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The use of facemasks at Baja California schools will remain optional and at parents’ discretion, according to health officials.

During a news conference Wednesday, Baja Secretary of Health Adrián Medina Amarillas said that in spite of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the state, there is no need for a facemask mandate for students.

“Especially if they have been vaccinated,” he said. “If mom wants to send her children to school with facemasks, they can do it, but it’s not an obligation.”

The health secretary added that his department “is aware of what’s going on and will take appropriate measures if they become necessary.”

Recently, several schools decided to close their doors after several students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

“Those schools took it upon themselves to make the decision without consulting anyone from our department. If there’s a need in the future, we will meet with those involved and unilaterally determine if there’s a need to suspend classes,” Medina Amarillas said.

According to Baja California’s COVID-19 website, 815 new cases have been registered since last week with more than 1,000 active cases in the state now.

“The numbers are very similar, maybe a little higher when compared to last year,” said Medina Amarillas. “Cases are up although we have not seen a dangerous spike, but we’ll remain vigilant and keep track of the cases.”

He said the state had not seen an increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations or deaths.

Medina Amarillas said booster vaccine shots will be made available for adults in October, and he’s urging residents to get a flu shot in the coming months.