ITHACA, N.Y.—Due to the Delta variant’s virulent spread and a recent jump in COVID-19 cases, Cornell University is reinstituting its indoor mask mandate for all individuals, the school announced Friday.

The school had already announced its vaccination requirement for students returning to campus in Fall 2021. The health department, earlier on Friday, issued an advisory encouraging local organizations and businesses to require mask-wearing indoors, both for employees and customers. Now, Cornell becomes the most notable entity to institute a formal mask mandate in response to the Delta variant-inspired wave.

“While it may be discouraging that some fully vaccinated individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, getting vaccinated remains the most important step you can take to protect yourself and others,” states the letter, written by Provost Michael Kotlikoff, Vice Provost Gary Koretzky, VP for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi and VP and Chief Human Resources Officer Mary Opperman. “The COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death. We urge all members of the Cornell community who have not yet been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.”

There are 57 active cases in Tompkins County as of July 30, a result of 47 positive tests over the last three days. It’s anticipated that the Delta variant is driving that spike in cases, though official results won’t be known until the health department finishes its analysis this week.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com