As students begin to return for the fall semester, Franklin College’s indoor mask policy is returning with them.

President Kerry Prather shared the news with the campus community in an email August 12, saying that the college would return to the previous policy effective immediately.

The policy states that masks are required indoors unless an individual is working inside a space that is not shared with anyone else, taking a shower, in a residential space, eating or drinking, or granted medical exemption by the college.

Johnson County’s shift to the orange advisory level of COVID-19 infection prompted Franklin College officials' decision.

Back to school plans have changed across the state and nation as cases of the Delta variant continue to rage the nation. On July 27, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement recommending all K-12 students, teachers and staff mask up.

This came after the CDC called for masks indoors in areas with substantial or high rates of COVID-19 transmission, regardless of vaccination status.

A handful of colleges in the state, including Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame and Butler University, are requiring the COVID-19 vaccination. Purdue University, Ball State University, Indiana State University and Franklin College join many other campuses in encouraging, but not requiring it. None of these campuses have issued new mask mandates for the fall at this time.

“We will continue to monitor both the external environment and the level of vaccination among the campus community, and our policies will be based on those metrics as well as direction from our consulting physicians,” Prather wrote.

Prather also used this time to ask the campus community to consider getting vaccinated if not already.

“I will repeat the plea made for months to the entire campus community,” Prather said. “If you have not already been vaccinated and are not medically restricted from being, please consider doing so immediately. At minimum, please consult your primary health care provider for advice on the wisdom of being vaccinated.”

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