By Joe Wilson —

On July 29, U of L announced it will encourage indoor mask use because COVID-19 cases have surged in Jefferson County in recent weeks.

In a mass email, the university explained they will strongly encourage all people to wear masks indoors while cases increase. However, the email stresses that there are no changes to the university’s COVID-19 policy at the time.

The announcement stops short of requiring masks indoors, but states the university will continue to send updates on its COVID policies in the coming weeks.

The Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness labels Jefferson County a high-risk area. The new BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the virus are fueling the latest surge. When a county is at high-risk of COVID transmission, the CDC recommends people to mask indoors.

John Karman, the Executive Director of Communications, reiterated the university’s stance on the issue to The Louisville Cardinal. “University leadership determined that the current policy encouraging indoor mask usage is the best plan given the current state of COVID in Jefferson County. Our policy is consistent with that of the other public universities in the state. We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID and adjust our policy as conditions dictate.”

In the meantime, the university plans to distribute free KN95 masks before the fall semester begins.