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Purdue University announces mask-optional policy starting Friday

Purdue moves to make masks optional across portions of campus (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Purdue University has announced it will go mask-optional starting on Friday.

In a press release Wednesday, university officials said that dropping campus COVID-19 case numbers and lower severity led them to the decision.

“We believe this is the next step toward greater normalcy based on rapidly declining national, state, and campus case numbers,” said Protect Purdue’s chief medical officer Dr. Esteban Ramirez.

Masks will still be required in classrooms, research laboratories, instructional and health care settings. That means that students may forego a mask in more public spaces in some buildings, but will need to mask up when entering a classroom, according to Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty.

Masks will also be fully optional inside Purdue Athletics venues, according to the release.

The university will continue to conduct surveillance testing through March and, if COVID data continues to improve, intends to relax protocols further starting in April.

Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler did not immediately respond to WBAA’s request for comment.

Last week, the Tippecanoe County School Corporation moved to make masking optional. At that time, Adler said he had advised keeping a school mask mandate in place.