Penn State announced a mask mandate Wednesday for all students, faculty, staff and visitors on all campuses, regardless of vaccination status, effective immediately.
Due to the recent spread of the Delta variant, many counties home to Penn State campuses have switched to "orange" status, immediately enacting the university's mask policy.
At Tuesday's virtual town hall hosted by President Eric Barron, the university said it would monitor virus transmission rates and adjust for campuses in counties with "substantial" or "high" transmission rates, as well as if the situation warranted a change.
The university cited "accelerating" coronavirus case counts as its reason for enacting the mandate, which does not change return-to-work protocol for faculty and staff.
According to the university, all on-campus activities will continue at their previously scheduled times but will now require masks. Any updates or adjustments to this will be announced soon, the university said.
Specifically, masks should be worn in all classrooms, meeting rooms, common areas in residence halls and any indoor events. However, eating will be permitted in designated food services, and students will not need to wear a mask in their personal living space in their own residence hall.
Additionally, any employees who are vaccinated are not required to mask in their own office space, the university said.
"Penn State is taking this proactive measure to protect the health and safety of our campuses and help mitigate the spread of the virus within our community," Barron said in a statement. "To have a successful semester, it's going to take all of us doing our parts to support the well-being of our entire community."
Penn State will notify the community when masking is no longer mandatory, the university said.
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