face mask mandate

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Earlier this month, the Berrien County Health Department issued a face mask order for all pre-K through grade 12 indoor educational settings. Now, the health department says it’s being forced to rescind that order.


The City of Martinsville is considering an ordinance that would ban COVID 19 vaccine mandates and mask mandates, but the mayor has doubts. 

Proponents say the ordinance would protect the personal liberties of Martinsville residents and visitors. 

"This would leave the choice up to the individual," said Ben Merida.  Merida is a city employee who proposed the ordinance.

Dylan Peers McCoy / WFYI

School districts have jumped at the chance to implement new state quarantine guidance that allows asymptomatic students and staff to stay in school if they come in close contact with COVID-19 in the classroom. The change allows students to remain in class rather than be forced to temporarily learn at home from worksheets or remote courses.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Warsaw Community Schools are requiring face masks for all students, teachers and staff to line up with new state guidance that eases COVID-19 quarantine requirements for schools that implement universal mask mandates. The mandate was adopted during the Sept. 7 board meeting.

Elizabeth Gabriel / WFYI

Kids are finally back to in-person school, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt learning. Cases are on the rise due to the highly contagious delta variant, which has also increased the number of youth hospitalizations.

Despite the surge, the vaccination rate for eligible children remains low. And a new study shows that it may not increase.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Amid surging COVID-19 cases, the Berrien County Health Department has issued a public health order requiring students, teachers and staff at any county school — pre-kindergarten through grade 12 — to wear face masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News



Southwest Michigan students are heading back to school this week. And amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, some districts are requiring face masks. 


Benton Harbor Area Schools are requiring masks for all students, teachers and staff. So are St. Joseph Public Schools — the board voted unanimously last week to implement a universal mask mandate.


Justin Hicks / IPB News

Indiana, like many states in the U.S., is experiencing a rapid increase in the number of children in hospitals due to COVID-19. 

School City of Mishawaka

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.

Photo courtesy of Elkhart Community Schools

WVPE's Morning Edition Host, Kent Fulmer, discusses the new school year with Elkhart Community Schools Superintendent Steve Thalheimer. Click on the link to hear the full interview.

Elkhart Community Schools is the broadcast licensee of 88.1 WVPE.

Jeanie Lindsay / IPB News

Indiana schools are reporting hundreds of new student cases of COVID-19 – with some only days into a new academic year. And it's disrupting classrooms and extracurricular activities across the state. 

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News


The St. Joseph County Health Department is urging all county K-12 schools to implement universal indoor mask mandates. That follows Centers for Disease Control guidance recommending students, teachers, staff and visitors all wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.


Brandon Smith / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb isn’t reimposing a mask wearing mandate in state government buildings despite new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance

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.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb doesn’t reimpose statewide restrictions. Indiana Department of Health officials strongly urge masks in school, but aren’t requiring them. And a few local governments begin reinstating mask requirements. 

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb said he’ll be monitoring Indiana’s COVID-19 data as the State Fair begins. But he’s convinced it will be safe.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

State health officials say they’re not mandating masks in K-12 schools amid a surge of COVID-19 in part because local officials told them they want to make those decisions.

Ben Thorp / WBAA


Purdue University and the City of West Lafayette both announced on Friday they will reinstate indoor mask mandates for students, staff, and visitors to campus or city buildings regardless of vaccination status.


Jeanie Lindsay / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb won’t reimpose any mask mandates in Hoosier schools, only urging students, teachers and staff to mask up amid a surge of COVID-19.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The Indiana Department of Health reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. This is the first time the state has surpassed 1,000 new cases in a day since May 14.

Jeanie Lindsay / IPB News

A new school year starts for many Hoosier students in the next two weeks, as COVID-19 cases are on the rise. With schools updating their safety plans and many children not eligible for a vaccine, one expert is recommending parents take extra precautions.

Justin Hicks/IPB News


On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control announced that vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks. That same day, St. Joseph County rescinded its face mask order.

Emma Atkinson/WTIU

Elkhart County’s extended face mask order went into effect Tuesday. On Monday, the Elkhart County Commissioners voted to rescind their enforcement of the mandate as it applies to businesses.

The Commissioners put an ordinance into effect late last year that originally included a monetary fine system for businesses that violated the health department’s COVID-19 orders.


Photo courtesy of Regina Scott

St. Joseph County’s face mask mandate will stay in place until May 27, more than a month and a half after the statewide mask mandate ends on April 6. But, the measure may face some pushback from county leaders.

Andy Kostielney, president of the St. Joseph County Commissioners, said local mayors and business leaders wanted to see the health department’s mandate downgraded to an advisory. 


(Screenshot of Facebook Live)

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced Tuesday the state will open vaccine eligibility to anyone over age 16 on March 31, and end the statewide mask mandate April 6, raising concern among some local health officials.

St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said local officials weren’t expecting the mask order to end and vaccine eligibility to open so close together. 


(Screenshot of Facebook Live)

All Hoosiers age 16 and older can schedule COVID-19 vaccinations beginning March 31.

St. Joseph County businesses can now be fined up to $250 for failing to enforce mask-wearing among employees. The County Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 to pass the enforcement order Tuesday morning. 

District 3 Commissioner Deb Fleming voted against the ordinance, citing her concern about what she says is a lack of scientific evidence that face masks effectively slow the spread of COVID-19. Many scientists and doctors claim otherwise.

Emma Atkinson/WTIU

After months of back and forth, the St. Joseph County Council finally passed an ordinance Tuesday night that will allow the county health department to enforce its face mask order.

Under the ordinance, businesses – not individuals – can be fined up to $250 for failing to require face masks when six feet of physical distance can’t be maintained. 

County Health Officer Bob Einterz has been trying to pass this measure since July. Though it’s been a long road, he said he’s glad to see elected officials reach a compromise. 

Holcomb: Indiana Staying At Stage 5 With Face Coverings, Dr. Box Has COVID-19

Oct 14, 2020
Provided by the State of Indiana

Gov. Eric Holcomb and state officials announced that in spite of surging COVID-19 cases, the state will remain at Stage 5 in the reopening plan with face masks still required. This will be in place through mid-November, however, Gov. Holcomb says he will revisit this next week. 

Today Dr. Kris Box, the state's top health official, announced she has tested positive for COVID-19. Her daughter and grandson have the virus as well. Gov. Holcomb and other state officials will be tested for COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon as a precaution following Box's positive test. Holcomb says he will quarantine until he gets the results of his test. Box says she is asymptomatic so far. 

Holcomb says that large gatherings aren't the problem, but rather small gatherings like weddings, funerals, house parties, etc. He says Hoosiers becoming complacent about the virus is the "literal definiation of whistling past the graveyard." He also said that "wearing a mask is a lay up." 

He says that the state will be putting more effort toward trying to help counties that are in orange or red on the state's COVID-19 map. As of Wednesday, counties in our area that are now in orange include Elkhart, LaGrange, Kosciusko and Starke. Supports that may be offered to such counties include help with more testing and contact tracing. 

State health officials also announced there has been a technical issue with the dashboard and there may be a surge of unreported numbers coming in the future. 

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Elections workers in Elkhart County will have to wear masks while manning the polls — that’s after the county’s Board of Elections voted to mandate them at a meeting Wednesday night.

Carol Smith, chief deputy of elections for Elkhart County, said the board’s decision was based on Governor Holcomb’s mask mandate, guidance from the Elkhart County Health Department and a letter from the Secretary of State that advised elections workers to wear masks.

Smith said that all public comment at the meeting was in favor of mandating masks.