Starting next week, Mishawaka schools are implementing a universal indoor mask mandate for all students, staff and guests regardless of vaccination status. Masks will remain optional outdoors.
The district has recorded 25 positive COVID-19 cases in the last four days and is seeing an average of 3.86 new cases per day. That’s higher than the 2020-2021 school year, where the district saw a high of 23 positive cases in November and an average of 1.14 new cases per day.
The news comes after more than 260 area health care professionals placed a full-page ad in the Thursday South Bend Tribune urging local districts to rethink their mask policies.
All other area districts have remained mask-optional. Five officials at Beacon Health — the area’s only children’s hospital — urged Penn-Harris-Madison to reconsider their mask policy earlier this week.
Indiana state education officials have “strongly urged” masks in schools, but will not require them and are leaving the decision up to individual districts.
Indiana is seeing a surge on COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant and underwhelming levels of vaccination.
On Thursday, the state recorded 3,713 new cases — the highest number since the beginning of the vaccine rollout in January.
Districts across the state are reporting hundreds of new student cases of COVID-19, and one southern Indiana district went fully virtual just one week into the school year after an explosion of cases.
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