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South Bend Schools Implement Universal Face Mask Mandate For Adults, Children

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

The South Bend Community School Corporation has implemented a universal face mask mandate for this academic year. Seven public commenters spoke against the measure, but it passed 5-0 with one abstention from board member Jeanette McCullough.

The new mandate applies to both adults and children regardless of vaccination status. Last week, the board’s reopening plan only required masks for students in grades five or below.


Under the previous guidance, unvaccinated staff and students were strongly recommended to wear face masks but were not required to do so.


The change comes following a nationwide rise in Covid-19 cases due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.


And the Centers for Disease control recommended last week that vaccinated Americans go back to wearing masks indoors in areas of substantial or high community spread of the virus.


Unvaccinated Americans, which includes all children under 12, were recommended to wear masks indoors before the CDC’s new guidelines.


Indiana state education officials have “strongly urged” masks in schools, but will not require them and are leaving the decision up to individual districts.


According to the CDC’s tracker, St. Joseph County is currently classified as having substantial community spread.


Contact Jakob at or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.


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Jakob Lazzaro came to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.