Face masks

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Face Masks

This guide will help you understand what you need to know and do regarding face masks while on campus.

August 6, 2021

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Face masks are mandatory, regardless of vaccination status, in all campus facilities except for certain private spaces
  • Face masks work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 if everyone wears them
  • Use a face mask with at least two layers of cotton
  • Neck gaiters, which are often made of thin material, must have at least two layers.
  • Bandanas are not approved as face coverings because they have been shown to be ineffective.
  • After use, face coverings must be laundered

Face Masks are Mandatory

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will need to be masked while indoors in campus facilities, and outdoors anytime you cannot maintain a 6-foot distance from others. 

While indoors, face masks are required anytime you are not in your own private workspace with a way to manage the entry of others, such as with a closed door. If this is a space someone else may need to enter, such as a lab or other operational space, you must wear it even when no one is present.

Also, anytime you are in common spaces such as hallways, bathrooms, break rooms, foyers, lobbies, etc., you must have your face mask on at all times, even if no one is present. 

Athletics participants may be unmasked only during active sanctioned practice or competition. 

Should a student or employee find that they are without a face mask, HSU will provide them at the following sites: 

  • University Police Department, 1st Floor SBS
  • Jolly Giant Commons Mailroom
  • College Creek Mailroom


Students: All other spaces on campus students are expected to adhere to CDC guidelines per their vaccination status. Should it be reported that a student who is unvaccinated is utilizing campus facilities without wearing a mask when required it may be referred to the Dean of Students.

Employees: Supervisors will be provided the names of individuals who qualify for the masking and testing exemption. It will be the responsibility of the supervisors to ensure that employees are adhering to campus policy.

About Face Masks

Face masks are not considered personal protective equipment, but you should be aware of how to use them properly and their limitations. Masks will not prevent you from becoming infected or exposed to COVID-19 but they reduce the spread of COVID-19 if everyone wears them. 

The face mask must always cover both the nose and mouth. Wearing the mask in a manner that leaves either the nose or mouth exposed is not in compliance with the public health requirements.

CDC guidance on face masks

Wearing a face mask will protect people or objects from the droplet spread that can come from your breathing, talking, singing, coughing, sneezing, and more.

It will also inhibit you from touching your nose or your mouth which:

  1. Helps protect you from potentially getting live virus into your nose, mouth, or eyes.
  2. Protects others by helping to keep you from touching your nose or mouth and then placing the virus on objects or people.

Use a face mask that has at least two layers of 100% cotton. Preferably, it will have a filtered insert, such as a coffee filter or shop cloth. It should be fitted enough not to have large gaps, but not so tight it restricts your breathing. 

Neck gaiters, which are often made of thin material, must have at least two layers. Bandanas are not approved as face masks because they have been shown to be ineffective.

You should wear one every time you leave your house. You may also want to wear one inside your home, if you live with someone over 65 years old, or someone who has physical conditions, like asthma, that makes them more susceptible to getting severely ill from COVID-19.

Anytime a face mask is worn around others you should assume it has been contaminated and should be laundered. Another option if you have not touched it with your hands, and have taken it off carefully using the strap after washing your hands, is to let it sit for at least 72 hours. 

Laundering Options

  • Wash face masks by hand with hot water and soap and air dry or put in a dryer.
  • Spray with >60% alcohol and let air dry
  • Rinse with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and air dry
  • Wash them in a washing machine and put them in a dryer