Citing Increased Transmission, Penn State Shifts To Require Indoor Masking For All Across Campuses
Penn State announced Wednesday that it now requires all students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear masks indoors at all campuses regardless of vaccination status.
The university updated its guideline one day after a town hall meeting where leaders shared COVID-19 protocols for the fall semester. Penn State said the change was because many counties where campuses are located have shifted to substantial levels of transmission, according to a CDC tracker. This includes Allegheny, Beaver, Montgomery and Franklin counties.
“As we continue to see daily increases in COVID-19 cases, particularly the Delta variant, our current outlook warrants this protective step,” President Eric Barron said in a statement. “I continue to look forward to a return to robust, in-person experiences, and hope this is a reassuring adjustment for students, faculty and staff.”
The updated indoor masking requirement excludes food service areas, living space in residence halls and individual offices. The university said faculty and staff should continue to prepare for a return to on-site teaching and working this month.
The university’s undergraduate and graduate student governments, its Faculty Senate and the State College Borough Council have called on Penn State to mandate vaccines for students and employees. The university has not made it a requirement but said it’s “not impartial” on the issue and strongly encourages vaccination.
Penn State said responses to an anonymous survey it sent out showed about 18,000 of 35,000 faculty and staff members surveyed said they’re vaccinated. And about 28,000 students responded saying they’ve gotten the shots.