(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is requiring masks.
The museum has “strongly encouraged” masks indoors for anyone over two years old who’s not vaccinated. Effective Wednesday, it’s now requiring masks, whether you’re vaccinated or not.
Operations manager Audra Blaisdel says says more than half the museum’s visitors are school age, and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in that group are rising sharply. Teenagers and preteens are Indiana’s least-vaccinated age group — the vaccine isn’t approved at all for kids under 12, and only a third of Hoosiers age 12 to 19 have been vaccinated.
Indiana schools reported more than 6,000 new student coronavirus cases in the last week.
Blaisdel says the museum’s scientific advisory panel recommended the mask requirement to reduce the strain on hospitals. The nearly 700 Hoosiers in intensive care with COVID-19 is the most all year, with another 18-hundred hospitalized in regular units.
And Blaisdel says for a museum which considers education its mission, it’s also a way to support school districts who have reinstituted masks to avoid having to move classes online again.
Masks aren’t required at the outdoor Sports Legends Experience.
The museum emailed members and advance-ticket holders to notify them of the new policy, and Blaisdel says the reaction has mirrored the scene at Indiana school board meetings: evenly divided between complaints and compliments. Blaisdel says some members replied to thank the museum for making the change.