Despite the announcement coming in an email containing "Fall 2021 pre-arrival information," Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty said the updated mask policy only applies to the summer, not the upcoming fall semester.
Students received an email Thursday afternoon with a link to information on Purdue's mask policy. The text above the link reads:
"With the state of COVID-19 constantly evolving, all members of your party should have and be prepared to wear a mask wherever required during your time on campus."
The link itself sends students to a webpage dated July 15, which says that masks are required for all students in instructional spaces, regardless of vaccination status, "until a greater share of the campus community is vaccinated against COVID-19."
The Exponent initially reported the information shared today as breaking news, applying it to the fall semester. But Doty said in a Thursday evening phone call that the policy linked to in the email only applies to the summer, and a decision for the fall semester is yet to be made.
Summer classes are scheduled to end next week, and summer commencement is scheduled for August 7. It's unclear as to why summer mask guidelines would be announced so close to the end of summer classes, or why an email meant for students returning this fall would contain guidelines that don't necessarily apply to them.
Purdue announced earlier this summer that masks won't be required in on-instructional indoor spaces such as research spaces, dining halls, the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center, offices, lobbies and libraries. The university was waiting to make a decision on instructional spaces and, as of a Wednesday phone all with Doty, still hadn't made a decision
Those who are not vaccinated or who do not have proof of vaccination on file with Purdue must continue wearing a mask in all indoor spaces and will be subject to disciplinary action if they fail to uphold the Protect Purdue Pledge.
The deadline to submit proof of vaccination is Aug. 13.