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Penn State, State College school district require masking again, as the county moves back to 'high' COVID-19 level

Penn State students gather in the university's HUB-Robeson Center
Deitric Murphy
Students gather in the HUB-Robeson Center during Penn State's in-person spring 2022 semester.

Masking will be required on Penn State’s University Park campus starting Tuesday, the university announced Friday, pointing to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Centre County now has a high COVID-19 Community Level. That’s based on case numbers for the past week relative to the population, COVID hospital admissions and the percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients.

Twenty-eight counties in Pennsylvania are in the CDC’s “orange” status, when indoor masking is recommended. Centre County moved back to that high level Thursday. The State College Area School District also announced Thursday that it is requiring masking starting Tuesday, after the Memorial Day weekend. The district had already returned to requiring masking on out-of-district coach bus rides longer than 30 minutes after "seeing strong evidence of COVID-19 transmission due to a recent bus trip."

A map of Pennsylvania showing CDC Covid Community Levels color-coded by county.
This map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows COVID-19 Community Levels by county, including the high level in Centre County as of May 26, 2022.

The masking requirements come as the number of patients hospitalized at Mount Nittany Medical Center has increased compared with most of April. As of Friday, 13 patients are hospitalized there for COVID-19.

Statewide, COVID cases and hospitalizations have been climbing too. According to the state Department of Health, there were 29,664 new COVID cases in the week ending May 25. That's an average of 4,238 new cases a day statewide.

Along with University Park, masks will also be required at Penn State Beaver, Greater Allegheny, New Kensington and Schuylkill. The university had already reinstated the masking requirement on Wednesday at eight other campuses.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.