face masks

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

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.


Mask Research / Toxic Cosmetics / Great Resignation

Aug 26, 2021
Brian Asare/Unsplash

March Madness created the perfect environment for researchers studying mask wearing. Today we talk to researchers to find out what they've learned.

We also learn about toxic products in cosmetics, and talk about why millions of Americans are quitting their jobs.

Produced by Mariam Sobh.


Dr. Peter Embi
President and CEO, Regenstrief Institute; Associate Dean for Informatics and Health Services Research, Indiana University School of Medicine

Indiana Department of Health


According to the state’s COVID-19 tracking map, Fulton, Pulaski, Marshall and Kosciusko counties are now in the more serious “orange” category, which indicates high spread of the virus.

(Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Starting Thursday, masks will be mandatory for students, staff and visitors at all Elkhart Community Schools. The ECS school board approved the mandate Tuesday in a 4-3 vote. 

Farah Yousry/WFYI

In the small southern Indiana city of New Albany, school board meetings are normally nothing special.

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.

Jeanie Lindsay / IPB News

Last week, the Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation approved a mask-optional policy for students and staff this school year. Now, the area’s only children’s hospital is now urging the district to change that policy.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

The Berrien County Health Department is recommending that all residents wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

The Centers for Disease Control list Berrien County as having “substantial” spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus. 

Emma Atkinson/WTIU

Goshen Community Schools is requiring masks for all staff and visitors at the district’s K-6 schools.

The move is in accordance with pandemic guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Elkhart County Health Department.


In a letter to parents Wednesday, Superintendent Steve Hopen said the mask requirement is meant to protect the district’s “most vulnerable students who are not yet able to be vaccinated.” Currently, only those age 12 and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.  


Indiana Department of Health

For the first time since April, all WVPE listener counties are back in the “yellow” category, indicating moderate spread of the virus, on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map. Last week, St. Joseph, Marshall and Starke counties were still in the “blue” category, indicating low spread of the virus.

Screenshot captured via YouTube

Masks will be optional at all Penn-Harris-Madison schools this fall following a 5-2 school board vote Monday night.

The South Bend Community School Corporation approved a universal mask mandate last week, but masking is still optional in many other local school districts, including Elkhart, Concord and Goshen Community Schools.


Elkhart County Health Department

The Elkhart County Health Department is recommending that all residents wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The Centers for Disease Controls has labeled the county as having “substantial” spread of the Delta variant, which is more contagious and more transmissible than other variants of the coronavirus.


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.


Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The COVID-19 delta variant accounts for more than 80 percent of sampled positive cases in Indiana. State health officials have pointed to the variant as the main driver of Indiana’s recent climb in new cases and hospitalizations.

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.

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.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb opted not to reimpose any COVID-19 restrictions Thursday as he extended the state’s public health emergency for another month.

Indiana Department of Health



On Tuesday, Indiana surpassed 1,000 new coronavirus cases per day for the first time since May. Now, many WVPE listener counties have moved back into the “yellow” category, indicating moderate spread of the virus, on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map.

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.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio


The St. Joseph County Council voted 8-0 on Wednesdsay to rescind the county's mask fine ordinance. Councilman Richard Pfeil was absent from the meeting.

ORIGINAL POST (May 18):   

It took months of negotiation between the health department and the St. Joseph County Council last year to establish fines for face mask violations. Now, those fines may end as early as Wednesday.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted the statewide mask order last week. But experts say the municipalities and counties that have maintained some kind of mask order are helping keep cases and hospitalizations down.

Photo courtesy of Regina Scott

Businesses in St. Joseph County can still be fined up to $250 dollars for failing to enforce mask-wearing among employees. The County Council voted to keep the enforcement measure in place until the health department’s mask order expires on May 27. 

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.