Purdue to make masks optional in many indoor spaces

Given that campus case numbers are dropping and severity continues to remain low, effective Friday, Feb. 18, Purdue University will make face masks optional on the West Lafayette campus, except for instructional, research and health care settings, as well as where contractually required. Purdue Athletics venues will be among the indoor spaces where masks will be considered optional.

The university decision was made with the support of the Protect Purdue Medical Advisory Team after carefully evaluating campus and community factors. According to Protect Purdue Health Center data, since Jan. 1, more than 99% of positive cases at Purdue University have been reported as asymptomatic, mild or moderate, with 0 hospitalizations, as expected in a campus community as vaccinated as Purdue’s. The overall, 7-day positivity rate has fallen by 76% from a high of 21% in January to its current 5%.

“Our Boilermaker students, faculty and staff continue to demonstrate just how committed they are to protecting our campus community from the spread of serious disease. We believe this is the next step toward greater normalcy based on rapidly declining national, state and campus case numbers,” says Esteban Ramirez, Protect Purdue Health Center’s chief medical officer.

Masks will continue to be required in classrooms, research laboratories, and instructional spaces, as well as health care areas where there is close patient contact such as the campus COVID-19 testing center and vaccine clinic at the Co-Rec, the Center for Healthy Living, the Purdue University Student Health Center, the Purdue University Pharmacy, the Veterinary Teaching hospital and Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL). Due to preexisting contractual obligations, Purdue Convocations will continue to require that masks be worn by all patrons for the remainder of the Spring 2022 semester at all of its events, including events sponsored by the Student Concert Committee and TEDxPurdueU.

Purdue will continue to conduct routine surveillance testing at least through the month of March, including two weeks of testing after Purdue’s Spring Break. Throughout March, the Medical Advisory Team and campus leadership will review campus and community COVID-19 data with the intention to further relax Protect Purdue protocols in April, assuming conditions continue to improve.

Data-driven targeted testing will continue as a response to areas where there are concerns of potential outbreaks.  

As always, the Protect Purdue team will be guided by the latest science and medical experts, and all rules and regulations will be subject to change. If a surge or change in case severity occurs, the masking policy and other protocols could be adjusted.

Purdue continues to encourage all Boilermakers to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 by scheduling an appointment online. Purdue’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located on the northwest side of the Co-Rec.

Thank you again for your continued efforts to protect yourself, others and the Purdue community.