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Local Mask Rules

Colleges maintain mandate, city, parish abolish
Thursday, October 28, 2021

As Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate ended Wednesday, local policymakers made decisions on their own requirements, with most opting to make face coverings optional.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday the mandate that began on Aug. 4 would be lifted Wednesday, except in some cases with K-12 schools.

Ruston City Hall removed the signs requiring masks in the building Wednesday. They will also be optional at the Lincoln Parish Courthouse and other buildings owned by the police jury, Parish Administrator Doug Postel said.

He said masks are still encouraged for those who feel they need one, and they will be provided to those who ask. The requirement is also lifted at the Lincoln Parish Library, Interim Director Marcie Nelson said.

But the University of Louisiana System, which includes both Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University, has maintained its indoor mask mandate for any institution that’s in an area marked as having substantial or high transmission.

Lincoln Parish falls in that category. Both Tech and GSU confirmed Wednesday that they’re following ULS guidance and keeping their requirements in place.

“Until Lincoln Parish moves from its current substantial transmission level, Louisiana Tech will comply with the ULS requirement, and students, faculty, and staff should wear masks or face coverings indoors,” Tech President Les Guice said in an online update. “We will be monitoring this closely and will modify our status as soon as possible.”

The city of Grambling did not answer requests for an update on its mask mandate by press time Wednesday.

The statewide mandate was renewed in August as Louisiana was dealing with its fourth surge in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths caused by the COVID-19 delta variant, a surge that state health officials say is now past.