Penn State University requires masking at all campuses

A Penn State University student walks across campus

A Penn State University student walks across campus in front of Old Main on main campus in State College, Pa., Thursday, July 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Penn State University will require students, staff and visitors at all its campuses to wear masks while indoors, the school announced Wednesday, responding to a statewide surge in coronavirus cases.

The masking rule will apply to everyone, regardless of vaccination status, Penn State officials said.

“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 written statement.

He said Penn State is still planning “robust, in-person experiences” for the fall semester.

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Penn State said it will require people to wear masks in classrooms, meeting rooms, common areas of residence halls and at any indoor events.

The school is also urging students and employees to get vaccinated. Anyone not fully vaccinated by Aug. 9 will be required to undergo virus testing during the fall semester, officials said.

Pennsylvania’s flagship university, which enrolls about 90,000 students, reinstated its mask mandate in response to a sharp increase in new infections fueled by the highly contagious delta strain of the coronavirus.

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Pennsylvania is now reporting more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 per day, nearly tripling over the past two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

More than 30 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are now considered to have substantial or high levels of community transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with half of Penn State’s 20 campuses located in these counties. The CDC recommends that people wear a face covering indoors in public in areas of substantial or high transmission.

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