DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Duke University will require masks indoors due to the surge of the delta variant, officials announced Wednesday.

The University said the decision was made due to the “rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in North Carolina related to a combination of the delta variant and the number of people who remain unvaccinated.”

The mask requirement will be in effect starting Friday for all Duke-owned and leased buildings.

The requirement applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, the University said in a press release.

School leaders said they were already considering a new mask mandate but the CDC’s recommendations confirmed that it was the right call.

“The CDC guidance was not a surprise to anybody. We’ve been contemplating reinstating mask requirements actually for quite some time,” said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s vice president of public affairs.

In addition to the mask requirement, starting in the fall, all students will be required to show proof that they have received a coronavirus vaccine.

Duke is one of a few universities in central North Carolina requiring a COVID-19 vaccination before attending fall classes.

Residence halls aren’t included in the mandate because students are already required to get the vaccine and they’re the only ones who will be in those buildings.