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Face Covering Use on Campus

April 7, 2020, 3:30 p.m. CDT

When should I wear a cloth face covering?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends* wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.

If you are considered essential personnel or must otherwise be on campus, you may consider using a cloth face covering while walking to and from your work location, or during the course of your work in areas you cannot maintain adequate social distance.

You may also wear N95 or surgical masks if already in your personal possession, though these are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

How can I make a cloth face covering?

The US Surgeon General demonstrates here* how to make a simple cloth face covering without sewing. The CDC also provides instructions here on how to create face coverings with and without sewing. 

How often should I clean my cloth face covering?

Your face covering should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. Regular machine washing and drying is sufficient. If part of your face covering, you may need to remove and discard elastic or rubber bands prior to washing and drying, then replace when the fabric portion is clean.

How do I safely remove a used cloth face covering?

Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your cloth face covering. Wash your hands immediately after removing and handling prior to laundering.

Can I wear a cloth face covering in a laboratory?

You should be maintaining appropriate social distance in your work area, so the cloth face covering should be considered more for your travel to and from the laboratory and not to be worn in it. If a cloth face covering is worn in the lab space, it should be handled the same as your lab coat and therefore not worn outside of the lab again or in other public spaces. It may remain in the lab for your personal use only and laundered as your lab coat would be. A cloth face covering does not replace any other recommended or required personal protective equipment (PPE) for your duties or work space, such as goggles, face shields, or respirators, and it should not interfere with the fit or function of other PPE.

Where can I find more information?

The CDC answers frequently asked questions about cloth face coverings here*.

* Link no longer exists and has been removed