By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Several Indiana school districts began requiring masks for students and staff Monday as the delta variant, which spreads more easily than previous versions of the coronavirus, continued surging across the state.

In the last week, 1,452 new COVID-19 cases were recorded among K-12 students in the state — four times more than the previous week, according to Monday’s update posted on the Indiana Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard.

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An additional 80 teachers and 118 non-teaching staff also have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last seven days, which is more than twice the number who tested positive the week before.

Statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 have also continued to rebound to levels last seen in February. The state health department reported that 1,462 Hoosiers were hospitalized with the virus on Sunday. Of those, 368 are in intensive care.

Carmel, Hamilton Southeastern, and Noblesville schools in Hamilton County, north of Indianapolis, announced Friday that masks are required for students and staff in any indoor area and on buses, regardless of vaccination status.

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In Marion County, Lawrence Township, Washington Township and Pike Township schools also mandated that masks be worn indoors starting Monday.

Indianapolis Public Schools, the state’s largest district, was among the first to announce last month that it would require masks for all staff and students, regardless of vaccination status.

Neighboring Wayne Township schools began requiring face masks for anyone indoors, on school property or in school buses on Aug. 11.

In Lake County, Hammond and Gary are requiring masks in school regardless of vaccination status, as is the Lake Central School Corp., which includes Schererville and St. John.  Munster requires masks for all elementary school students and staff and recommended for unvaccinated middle school and high school students and staff. Masks are not required for vaccinated students and staff at Munster High School and Wilbur Wright Middle School.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff