Just days after administrators with the University of Southern Indiana announced they would follow the Centers for Disease Control updated guidance that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear face masks indoors in counties where case numbers are "substantial" or "high", administrators with the University of Evansville announced they will be doing the same.

The University posted the updated policy on its website Thursday afternoon saying it would go into effect beginning Monday (August 2nd, 2021). The change comes roughly two months after the University announced masks would be optional on campus. It should be noted that change was also made based on CDC guidelines.

However, as the saying goes, that was then and this is now. Two months ago it appeared the Tri-State, and the country as a whole had finally turned the corner on the COVID pandemic. Overall case numbers had dropped, as had hospitalizations, and most importantly, deaths, as many people chose to get one of the three vaccines available. The Indiana Department of Health's COVID map showed a majority of the counties in the state, including Vanderburgh, Posey, Warrick, Gibson, and others, under the blue advisory status, the lowest and most "back to normal" level of the Department's color-coded advisory categories.

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Today, it's a different story. The Delta variant of COVID has proven itself to be more transmissible and is currently the dominant form of the virus in the United States. This had led to the number of cases in more and more counties, including the aforementioned Tri-State counties, going the wrong way and finding themselves in the yellow, with the exception of Gibson and Warrick Counties who have crept back into the orange (as of this writing), the second-highest level of the advisory categories. The data falls in line with CDC's COVID tracking map which currently lists nearly every county in the Tri-State as either substantial or high in terms of case numbers.

You can read the University of Evansville's complete statement on their revised policy, including who students and faculty should contact if a "medical issue" makes wearing a mask difficult, on their website.

[Source: University of Evansville / CDC / Indiana Department of Health / NPR]

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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