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Purdue Fort Wayne extends indoor mask rule until September

August 20, 2021 GMT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University Fort Wayne has extended its indoor mask mandate until early September for all students, staff, faculty and campus visitors, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

The university announced the move Thursday, saying there had been “no discernable improvement” in local and nationwide COVID-19 numbers since it reimplemented the mandate in early August.

The northeast Indiana school, which begins its fall semester Monday, said the mask mandate extension will be reevaluated on Sept. 3.

Purdue Fort Wayne had relaxed its indoor mask rules for fully vaccinated people on June 28, when the Allen County Health Department reported 399 new COVID-19 cases for all of June — an average of about 13 per day, The Journal Gazette reported.

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But the mask mandate was reimplemented on Aug. 9 amid rising COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

The county health department has reported 2,380 new coronavirus cases in the 14 days since the school announced it would again require facial coverings for all students, staff, faculty and visitors. That’s an average of 170 new diagnoses a day.

School officials said in a statement that they appreciate the campus community’s “willingness and flexibility to adapt quickly to challenging circumstances.”

The statement added that “our collective efforts have helped keep our campus safe and healthy while creating the most conducive environment possible for normal operations.”