UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With the identification of the omicron coronavirus variant and experts predicting the number of COVID-19 cases to rise over the winter months, Penn State’s indoor masking policy will remain in effect into the spring 2022 semester. University officials will continue to monitor the evolution of the pandemic and the spread of various coronavirus variants and will adjust Penn State’s masking policy when it is safe to do so.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania continues to have high COVID-19 transmission rates. The CDC continues to recommend the use of face masks in indoor settings for unvaccinated individuals, fully vaccinated individuals in areas with substantial or high transmission rates, and fully vaccinated individuals with weakened immune systems.
University policy requires all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear face masks while indoors on campus. Masks are required in all classrooms, as well as in meeting rooms, common areas in residence halls and at all indoor events. Under a federal rule extended by the Biden administration until March 18, masks must also be worn while traveling on public transportation.
Masks may be removed indoors when an individual is actively eating or drinking or at events when speaking at a podium or microphone at least six feet away from other attendees and participants. The public speaking exception does not apply to classes – masks must be worn in classrooms at all times and eating in classrooms remains prohibited in accordance with Policy AD62 Use of General Purpose Classrooms.
Employees with individual offices are not required to wear a mask in their personal office. More information is available via the University’s masking policy.
The masking policy applies to all Penn State campuses except the College of Medicine, which has its own specific guidance for its community.
More information on the types of masks and how to properly wear and care for them is available on the Penn State Environmental Health and Safety website.