masks in schools

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Some school corporations are revisiting their mask requirements after newly reported COVID-19 cases have slowed over the past two months. 

Screenshot captured via Facebook

Berrien County Interim Health Officer Courtney Davis says the county’s school mask mandate is working. 

Provided by WNDU

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona praised the efforts of educators and focused on the importance of masks to keep schools open as he visited classrooms in northern Indiana Wednesday. The stops in Elkhart and South Bend were part of a multi-state bus tour across the Midwest, highlighting the return to in-person school.

Screenshot captured via Facebook

Berrien County health officials say the county is still seeing a steady rise in COVID-19 transmission.

Alan Mbathi/IPB News

Starting Thursday, Sept. 9, students, staff and visitors at all Goshen Community Schools will have to wear a mask indoors. 

Kindergarten through sixth grade students have had to wear a mask since Aug. 23, while staff and visitors at the district’s K-6 schools have had to wear them since Aug. 12.


Elizabeth Gabriel/WFYI

Thousands of Indiana students have been sent home to quarantine, often for a week or more, during the past month as a precaution in the ongoing pandemic. It's a response that is again raising concern over student learning outside the classroom. And school districts worry if students are in remote learning for too long, they could lose state funding.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana Department of Health is loosening its school COVID-19 quarantine policy – but only for schools that are masking up.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

The state's latest update on COVID-19 in schools shows 5,529 newly reported student cases – a new record for the second week in a row.

Today we learn about the incredible life of J.B. Stradford, the son of a former slave who graduated from Indiana Law School in 1899.

We also talk to reporter Farah Yousry about growing divisions between school boards and parents during the pandemic.

Produced by Drew Daudelin.


Farah Yousry
Health Equity Reporter, Side Effects Public Media

Nicole Burts
Alumni, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

(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.

Alan Mbathi/IPB News

Earlier this month, the Penn-Harris-Madison school board adopted a mask-optional policy for the 2021-22 school year, drawing backlash from local doctors. After reviewing state and local COVID-19 data, the board voted to change the policy Monday.

Starting Monday, Aug. 23, Goshen Community Schools students at the following schools will have to wear a mask indoors: 

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The Elkhart County Health Department is once again urging all residents to wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, as the delta variant drives a rapid increase in cases in the county.


Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait said Thursday the county’s positivity rate has nearly doubled in the last three weeks, from just over 5 percent to 9.4 percent.


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.

Elizabeth Gabriel/WFYI

The leader of America’s second largest teacher's labor union visited Indiana Friday as COVID-19 cases surge and school districts across the state reevaluate their face mask policy.

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.  


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

COVID-19 is already disrupting the new school year for some students around the state, and it's creating challenges for schools hoping to keep kids in classrooms – especially in elementary grades. 

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week it recommends people wear masks in schools as COVID-19 cases surge. It's prompting some Hoosier schools to revise their policies, while others are waiting to make decisions based on local COVID-19 data, as many near – or have already started – a new academic year. 

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.