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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Use of Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 and COVID-19 Variants

 

This information is a living document that will be updated in accordance with rapidly changing guidance (last updated on July 30, 2021).

Given Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released on July 27, 2021, the increase in COVID-19 cases locally and in the state of Ohio, and the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, the University is requiring students, faculty, staff, visitors and contractors to wear face coverings indoors on campus until further notice, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.  The following exceptions apply:

  • Face coverings are not required in residential areas, but are strongly recommended. 
  • Face coverings are not required while actively eating or drinking.  
  • Face coverings are not required outdoors. 
  • Face coverings are required in academic, classroom, lab and demonstration spaces. 
  • Face coverings are required for public transportation, UD owned transportation vehicles, or leased transportation vehicles.
  • If an individual is alone in an enclosed non-public workspace, such as a private office or cubicle with sides that extend above the head of the person (including when the occupant is standing at any standing desk in the cubicle) on at least three sides, that person is not required to wear a face covering. 
  • Face coverings might not be required in certain indoor settings, based on activity and/or location.  Such exceptions will be posted or otherwise communicated by the University as appropriate.
  • Face coverings should not be placed on anyone who has trouble breathing, anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, or young children under age two years oldThey should not be used in circumstances where industry best practices dictate otherwise (e.g., someone welding who is already wearing a welding mask).
Acceptable facial coverings include1:  
  • Traditional face mask that covers the nose, mouth, and chin.
  • Mask with a clear center area which is more compatible with certain communication needs.
  • Any other cloth covering that covers the nose, mouth and chin that is made with tightly-woven fabric, such as a gaiter, bandana, burka or niqab, etc.  Any of these items made with a loose-weave fabric should be avoided as that can reduce their effectiveness. 
  • Face shields: A full-length face shield with added material drape that provides additional protection to prevent respiratory droplets from spreading is an acceptable face covering. 
  • Face coverings with exhalation valves or vents are not acceptable, nor are they supported by the CDC. The air that is exhaled through the valve can disperse respiratory droplets, which does not help to slow the spread of the virus.  
Accommodation for face covering requirement:
  • Faculty or staff requesting an accommodation for a face covering should contact Human Resources. Students requesting an accommodation for a face covering should contact the Office of Learning Resources. Note that medical documentation will be required; if you anticipate needing an accommodation, you may wish to make an appointment with your medical provider as soon as possible. Further, an accommodation request to not wear a face covering of any kind might require another form of source control, or other requirements and/or accommodations.
Putting on a mask:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or apply alcohol-based hand sanitizer before putting on the mask.  
  • Put on the mask by holding the ear loops or ties and looping around each ear.  The mask should fit around the mouth, nose and chin.  Avoid holding and touching the mask in the center part that covers the mouth and nose.
  • The mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and allow for breathing without restriction.  
While wearing a mask:
  • If you touch the mask while wearing it, then you should wash your hands with soap and water or apply alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  
  • Do not remove the mask and let it rest or dangle under the chin.  
  • Make sure your mask covers your nose.  If it slides off your nose, readjust so that your nose is covered.  
  • Remove the mask if soiled or damp.  You may reuse a single-use mask until it becomes soiled, damaged or hard to breathe through.   
  • If your mask seems uncomfortable because it’s too tight on your ears, consider using an extender (available at the UD Bookstore) or “ear saver” (available at sites like etsy.com and amazon.com; DIY options can be found online by simple internet search). 
Removing a mask:
  • Remove the mask by lifting it off the ears and away from the face.  
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth when removing the mask.  
  • If you plan to reuse the mask, place it in a clean paper bag to prevent cross contamination.  
  • If it is a single-use mask that has become soiled, damaged or difficult to breathe through, then place it directly in the trash.  
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or apply alcohol-based hand sanitizer after removing the mask.
Home cleaning instructions for a reusable cloth mask:
  • Reusable masks should be washed in a washing machine routinely depending on the frequency of use.
Rationale:  
  • Face coverings are considered "source control" for respiratory viruses (i.e., reducing the spread of respiratory droplets from the wearer to others) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of facial coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and COVID-19 variants while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.  Scientific knowledge continues to evolve; the University will continue to monitor the most current recommendations and update this guidance accordingly.

For more information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself, please visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Footnote:

1 The University acknowledges that a number of articles and/or studies might question the effectiveness of the acceptable face coverings listed.  However, the University regularly consults with public health authorities as well as its Expert Medical Advisory Panel.  This guidance is consistent with their recommendations.

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