Comm 170, Indoors Social Distancing

Students masking and sitting distanced from each other during class in Biobehavioral Health Building at Penn State University, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. This is a hybrid class where the instructor divides 105 students into four groups and rotate one group each class to be in-person while the rest participate on Zoom.

Penn State announced Friday its indoor masking requirement will remain in effect into the spring semester — regardless of vaccination status.

The university decided to keep its policy, which has been in place since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, due to the predicted rise in coronavirus cases throughout the winter months and the newly identified omicron variant, according to a release.

Under the indoor masking requirement, all individuals must wear a mask in all classrooms — regardless of size — as well as in meeting rooms, common areas and during indoor events. Masks must be worn in public transportation as well, under President Joe Biden's extended federal rule in place until March 18.

Masks may be removed if an individual is actively eating or drinking, as well as if an individual is speaking at an event at a microphone or podium at least six feet away from the attendees and participants, the release said.

Additionally, employees with a personal office are not required to wear their mask inside that space, Penn State said.

The university's policy applies to all Penn State campuses besides the College of Medicine, which has its own guidelines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to classify Pennsylvania as a state with high community transmission, the release said, and it continues to recommend masking indoors.

However, Penn State officials "will continue to monitor the evolution of the pandemic and the spread of various coronavirus variants and will adjust Penn State’s masking policy when it is safe to do so."

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