FAQ - Masks
Yes. All students, faculty and staff are required to wear a mask or face covering while on campus. Read UofL’s Mask and Face Covering Policy for more details.
Only faculty members are given the option to remove their mask while lecturing six feet away from students.
Wearing masks and face coverings is an essential requirement of the university’s plan to reopen the campus and provide a safe and healthy environment for our university community. Wearing a mask or face covering is about protecting others and the entire Cardinal family. Failing to comply with the Mask and Face Covering Policy jeopardizes the health and safety of university members and compromises the university’s ability to resume activities and operations as normally as possible this fall. Without the requirement of masks and face coverings, our campuses cannot resume normal operations.
Health experts tell us that although masks cannot guarantee protection from COVID-19, they significantly reduce the spread of the virus. See the following video and articles that demonstrate the effectiveness of wearing masks:
- Video: Do Masks Really Work?
- Article: How Face Masks Can Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
- Article: Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks
- Article: 2 Stylists Had Coronavirus, but Wore Masks. 139 Clients Didn’t Fall Sick.
- Article: Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US
- Article: Association of country-wide coronavirus mortality with demographics, testing, lockdowns, and public wearing of masks (Update June 15, 2020).
- Article: Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks
If you are practicing physical distancing of six feet away from others while outside, you may remove your mask or face covering when outside. If you will be walking close to other people or physical distancing won’t be possible while being outside, you should keep your mask on. Additionally, as you get near the entrance of a building you must put on your mask before entering.
A common area or public space is any indoor space other than a private office, residence, university dorm or apartment, or personal vehicle. Public spaces include lobbies, restrooms, cafeterias, classrooms, common spaces of residence halls, conference rooms, and break rooms. Masks/face coverings should be worn in any enclosed public space or common area, even if no one else is using the space except for you, to help decrease respiratory secretions getting left on surfaces that others will use after you.
The university is providing each student, faculty and staff member with one, washable cloth mask. It is the responsibility of the individual to provide their own additional masks or face coverings. See below for the ways in which each university member will have their masks distributed:
Employees will receive their masks from their supervisor or department chairs. Although the masks are free, supervisors and department chairs must submit an order through the Stock Room to secure the exact number of masks needed (including a small quantity to have available for guests and visitors). Masks will also be available for purchase through various vending machines, Dining Services and the Campus Bookstore.
Professional, graduate, upper division Nursing and Dental Hygiene students will receive their masks from their academic departments.
Residents of campus housing will receive their masks in their residence hall room or in their apartment.
Commuter students who park in the Purple Lot will get a mask at the Cardinal Shuttle stop on the first two days of classes (Monday, August 17, and Tuesday, August 18) between the hours of 7am and 4pm. University Parking will handle the distribution.
All other students, not in one of the groups above, will be able to pick up their masks at Cardinal Stadium (in the S/Alro Steel lot, across from Floyd Street from the Cardinal Shuttle bus stop) at the following times:
- Thursday, August 13, 3pm to 8pm
- Friday, August 14, 3pm to 8pm
- Saturday, August 15, 2pm to 5pm
University members are permitted to wear cloth masks, bandanas and scarf masks. Surgical masks are also permitted, however, we encourage surgical masks to be reserved for healthcare workers. For the general public including faculty, staff and students not involved in healthcare, cloth masks and face coverings are sufficient. Masks and face coverings with exhalation valves are not permitted.
If you encounter someone not wearing a mask or face covering, first remain at least six feet away from them. The Cardinal Principles should be our guide when we interact with one another on campus. If you are concerned about someone not wearing a mask or face covering, first consider they may have a disability or medical exemption. If you learn that someone is not wearing their mask or face covering because it is their preference, then you may report the concern by doing the following:
- Students: Notify the Dean of Students office by Reporting a Student Concern.
- Staff: Notify a supervisor or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Faculty: Follow the Face Coverings/Mask Response Guide for addressing a student concern; or, notify your department chair, you dean or the Provost Office of Faculty Affairs at email@example.com, for addressing concerns about another faculty member.
Yes. Any masks or face coverings with a plastic one-way valve without filtering are prohibited. Such masks filter the air for the person wearing it but also allows the person to directly exhale into the air. That jeopardizes the health of others and is therefore not permitted.
No. Face shields provide no protection from inhaling the virus and are primarily for preventing the virus from getting into your eyes during medical procedures. Face shields are not a substitute for masks or face coverings and should only be used in addition to face coverings or masks.
Face shields may be used in combination with physical distancing by faculty members for the specific purpose of lecturing if desired.
No. You do not need to wear a mask or face covering while eating or drinking. As soon as your meal is complete, wash your hands or clean your hands with hand sanitizer, put your mask or face covering back on, then sanitize your hands again.
No. Face coverings are not required when students are in their personal on-campus residence hall rooms/suites or apartments. You should apply the same thought process that you used while living at home with your family. When you and your roommate first come together at the start of the semester, you should have a discussion about mask and face covering expectations.
Yes. These spaces are considered public spaces and face masks are required. Masks or face coverings are required while in all common areas and community bathrooms, except for while showering. Residents should perform any activities that require touching of the face (brushing teeth, washing face, etc.) at the sinks in their rooms instead of at sinks in the community bathrooms if possible.
Yes. Those spaces are considered public spaces, therefore masks or face coverings are required.
Yes, masks and face coverings must be worn while riding a bus. This is a requirement that is enforced across the city for our transportation provider TARC. Even if no one else is on the bus, wearing a mask or face covering decreases respiratory secretions on surfaces within the bus. Contaminated surfaces may still be a source of infection after you have left.
Yes, unless they have received a university-issued medical exemption, as outlined in the Mask and Face Coverings Policy. For example, faculty members may ask a student who refuses to keep on their mask to leave their classroom. Repeated violations may be referred to the Student Conduct Committee, Human Resources or Faculty Affairs and may be subject to disciplinary action.
Wearing a mask or face covering is about protecting others and a fundamental part of our Community of Care principle. Additionally, limiting the spread of the virus allows the university to resume some normal operations, including in-person classes without the need to return to full remote instruction. Without taking these steps, the University jeopardizes its ability to operate at the greatest capacity possible.
If you believe that a mask or face covering will limit your ability to perform your job-related duties, speak with your supervisor. If you are unable to develop a plan which can meet your needs, please contact Human Resources (for staff) or Faculty Affairs (for faculty).
When physical distance of six feet is maintained, faculty members may choose to not wear their mask or face covering for the specific purpose of lecturing. Faculty are encouraged to work with Disability Resources to determine appropriate accommodations (e.g., distancing, remote interpreting) in such situations. For classes using sign language interpreters, interpreters should use physical distancing without a face mask for in-person interpreting or provide remote interpreting.
While in your private office area, you are not required to wear a mask or face covering when alone. However, as soon as one other person enters your office area, everyone is required to wear a mask or face covering.
Only faculty members have the option to remove their mask for the specific purpose of lecturing if they maintain at least six feet of physical distance from their students. Faculty who stay six feet away from students and choose to not wear their mask while lecturing may then choose to wear a face shield while lecturing but it isn’t considered necessary by public health officials. Please note that face shields provide no protection from inhaling the virus and are not a substitute for masks or face coverings.
It depends. Cubicles with four walls with just an entryway opening that are assigned to a single person for their daily use, and whose walls are at least six feet high to block the breathing zone of anyone walking by or in adjacent cubicles, are considered private offices and the university does not require the occupant to wear a mask in their office space. If anyone else approaches the opening or enters the cubicle, then the occupant should put their mask on immediately. Cubicles that do not meet these standards, are not considered private offices and are instead considered public work spaces which require occupants to remain masked at all times when using that space.
It depends on the assignment of that vehicle. If is a shared vehicle, masks or face coverings must be worn even if no one else is in the vehicle. Shared vehicles may have respiratory secretions on surfaces within the vehicle from other drivers. Contaminated surfaces may still be a source of infection after a driver leaves the shared vehicle.
If the vehicle is assigned to a single employee, and that person is alone in the vehicle, a mask or face covering is not required.
Yes. Scientific understanding of COVID-19 is still evolving, and currently it is not known if those who have had the disease can be re-infected and become contagious again.
Yes. There are some university members who may not be able to wear a face covering due to a pre-existing medical condition or other disability (e.g., inability to remove a face covering without assistance in an emergency).
Students should contact the Disability Resources Center to request an exemption through the usual accommodation request process. Requests should be submitted as soon as possible so that there is adequate time to review the request.
Employees who are unable to wear a face covering must provide a statement from their healthcare provider stating they cannot wear a mask or face covering at work. The documentation should not show medical records and must be submitted to their direct supervisor.
All university policies are continually under review as more information regarding the current pandemic is made available. At this time, the Mask and Face Covering Policy will remain in effect until the pandemic is over.