Just about three weeks after announcing changes to its guidelines for indoor masking, Penn State completely removes the requirements, the university announced early Tuesday morning.
As of Wednesday, March 23, masks are not required in most classrooms, laboratories, or other “academic spaces.” Over the spring break, Penn State removed masking requirements for indoor spaces such as dormitories, dining rooms, campus gyms, marketplaces, sporting events and classrooms used for leisure activities.
Masks will still be required where required by law, including special workplaces, public transportation services or health care. Penn State said masking will also remain necessary in some human research laboratories and at its College of Medicine to support patient care.
Penn State’s policy change comes after the Centers for Disease Control made changes to its measurements at the societal level, which now includes COVID-19 hospital admissions, local hospital capacities and cases in the equation. The CDC now says that indoor masking is generally not recommended or required for counties within “low” or “medium” thresholds.
So far, Center County operates within a “low” threshold at the community level. Crawford County is currently the only Pennsylvania county to observe a “medium” community level.
Penn State will continue to offer walk-up COVID-19 testing in the White Building, although unvaccinated students and staff are currently no longer required to complete weekly tests.
The White Building will offer testing according to the following schedule this spring:
- Dinner until 5pm on Sundays
- 9am to 5pm Mondays and Tuesdays
- 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
- Closed on Saturdays
Currently, 92% of students and 86.3% of University Park staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Penn State’s COVID-19 Dashboard. Both rates easily surpass Center County’s 63.2% vaccination rate.
COVID-19 spread in Pennsylvania has declined sharply in recent weeks. On Monday, the state reported fewer than 1,000 new positives for the 10th time in 11 days. Center County recorded seven new cases, marking a single-digit increase for the second day in a row and the 10th time in the last month.
Due to “expected low use of voluntary and asymptomatic tests,” Penn State said it will stop updating its COVID-19 Dashboard from April 7th. Archived data will remain available.
For more information on Penn State’s recent COVID-19 policies, visit its dedicated website.