Indiana University will end its mask mandate on all campuses beginning March 4.
A university spokesperson says student health and learning remain the primary focus, while pointing to declining case counts and the campus’s high rate of vaccination.
Data is clear that masking is an effective means of stemming virus transmission.
And IU spokesperson Chuck Carney says the university will continue to offer masks – both surgical and higher quality medical respirators – on campus.
"So, a lot of those factors came into it, because we're already in a safer place than many places because of the requirements that we have for our campus – all of our campuses," Carney said.
He said the school would continue its contact tracing program, and that the decision to end its mask requirement was made in consultation with local officials.
Among them was health department administrator Penny Caudill – she says Monroe County’s Board of Health opted to not implement a local emergency order after the state’s order is set to expire March 4.
Even with the mandate set to expire, Caudill insists she’ll continue wearing a mask.
“Will I wear it as consistently as I might in terms of the regulation? Maybe not, but I certainly will be somebody who continues to wear masks.”
Both she and Carney reiterated that the recommendation to mask up will remain.
IU joins Purdue University – which rescinded its requirement for most settings earlier this week.
The university reimplemented its mask mandate at the start of the fall semester, in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.
IU attributed the latest move to declining COVID-19 cases on its campuses. Just over 91 percent of students and faculty are vaccinated for COVID-19. The university reported 84 cases across its campuses this week.
The change in masking policy coincides with state and county health orders set to expire on March 4.