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Ball State to drop COVID-19 mask mandate

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Ball State, Education, Health, Local News
Mask Frog Baby
Ball State's "Frog Baby" statue wears a face mask during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Ball State University)

Ball State University is the latest Hoosier public university to drop its COVID-19 indoor face mask mandate.

The Muncie school will stop requiring masks at the end of the business day on Friday, March 4, right as many students are leaving campus for Spring Break.

Ball State is dropping the mandate after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its mask-wearing recommendations.  Officials also say the school has considered specific COVID-19 transmission data on campus, vaccination rates, and advice from local health officials.

Last month, Indiana University and Purdue University also announced an end to their mask mandates.

Ball State briefly dropped its mask requirement for fully vaccinated people last June.  It reinstated masks two months later, as delta variant cases ramped up in Indiana.

The university is asking its campus community to “act responsibly” and encouraged unvaccinated people to get vaccinated or to consider continuing to mask up.

As of Wednesday, CDC “by county” guidance continues to list Delaware County under high risk for community COVID spread.

Last month, Ball State president Geoffrey Mearns says COVID vaccinations on campus among most staff and students are high, but lag among service staff.  In Delaware County as a whole, 54 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.