Updated Face Covering Guidance
This message to all faculty and staff has been approved by Kyle Clark, Vice President for Finance & Administration.
On January 30, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidance on wearing masks. Additionally, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top public health expert, also addressed the potential effectiveness of wearing two masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In light of the CDC update and Dr. Fauci’s public comments, we would like to clarify the expectations for wearing face coverings.
While wearing two masks may provide additional mitigation against the spread of COVID-19, it is not included in the current CDC guidance. Many face coverings already provide two or more protective layers, thus likely achieving the same effectiveness as wearing two masks. It is most important to note that regardless of the number of layers, all masks are ineffective if worn improperly. Wearing any mask or face covering properly is an important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC recommends wearing masks that:
- Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
- Completely cover your nose and mouth
- Fit snugly against the sides of your face and don’t have gaps
- Fit closely over your nose or have a nose wire to limit fogging if you wear glasses
Additionally, the CDC recommends masks for people who have recovered from COVID-19 or received the vaccine. While these individuals are at a significantly reduced risk of contracting COVID-19, it is still possible to carry the disease and infect others.
The CDC recommends avoiding masks that:
- Are made of fabric that makes it hard to breathe, such as vinyl
- Have exhalation valves or vents which allow virus particles to escape
- Are intended for healthcare workers, including N95 respirators or surgical masks
The best defense against the spread of COVID-19 is wearing a multi-layered face covering properly. Two masks are not necessary as long as your mask provides an additional protective layer. The Environmental Health & Safety website provides in-depth guidance on the appropriate use of cloth face coverings.
The University has purchased face coverings for all employees. Contact your Dean, Director, or Department Head to determine if your department has face coverings available. For information on ordering face coverings for your department, visit the Procurement Services website.
Thank you for your continued commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the campus community.