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Face Coverings Protocol

All University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers) are required to use a face covering to cover both the nose and mouth at all times when in any enclosed or indoor space on University campuses and properties (including leased facilities) with the following exceptions:

  • When eating or drinking; however, physical distancing practices must be observed.
  • When in one’s assigned apartment or residence hall room without any guests.
  • When alone in an office, private study area, or other space or where permitted by an official University notice posted in a space. Please note: Face coverings are required when in open study spaces, including student centers and libraries.
  • When alone in a motor vehicle or utility vehicle used for University business.
  • When allowed by campus recreation facility or athletic facility or team policies, procedures, or rules.
  • When the task requires the use of a NIOSH-approved respirator.
  • When teaching or lecturing in a University course at a distance of at least six feet from another individual, instructors may substitute a university issued or approved face shield for a face covering if a face covering would unduly hamper classroom instruction. Face coverings remain required for instructors at all other times not separately excepted by this protocol. For example, face coverings remain required while moving to and from the classroom.
  • Children under the age of 2 years or anyone unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • When an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter expert and granted by express written permission of the University.

This directive applies to all University campuses and all properties within the University’s Real Estate Inventory and University transportation services. Enclosed spaces include covered walkways and transit shelters and skyways and tunnels and include spaces even where exterior doorways or windows are open.

Face coverings are also required in outdoor settings on the University campuses if safe physical distancing and gathering practices are not being observed. Where safe physical distancing and gathering practices are being observed, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required. Face coverings are also strongly encouraged when conducting any University business regardless of location (e.g., off-site travel or training). This directive shall remain in effect until further notice.


This face covering directive has been established because we respect and care for ourselves and every person that we encounter on campus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) advise the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus and to help people who are unaware they have the virus from spreading it to others. Face coverings are intended to prevent wearers who have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) without knowing it (those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) from spreading potentially infectious respiratory droplets to others. This is known as source control. When you wear a face covering, you demonstrate care about the health and safety of those in our campus community.

What constitutes a face covering?

A multi-ply tightly woven cotton cloth or multi-ply disposable face covering is recommended. When worn, the covering must extend from the bridge of the nose to below the chin. Reusable cloth face coverings are acceptable, as are disposable paper masks. Cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape
  • The face covering must not have an exhalation valve

Other face coverings expressly approved by the University are acceptable.

Wearing and caring for one’s face covering

Each individual is responsible to care for their own face covering. Disposable face coverings are to be discarded as ordinary refuse after a single day’s use unless a workplace requirement requires a different disposal method. Reusable cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. Face coverings that are visibly soiled, in poor condition, or that make it difficult to breathe should not be used.

Instruction for properly putting on, taking off, and caring for cloth face coverings can be found in CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 guidance. To safely use the face covering:

  • Wash or use sanitizer on hands before and after touching covering
  • Avoid touching front of face covering (e.g., if equipped with ear loops, only touch ear loops)
  • Do not touch the face covering except to adjust it to nose and face
  • At all times, the covering should cover the nose and mouth, wrap under the chin, and limit gaps
  • Do not share your face covering with others

At least two face coverings should be carried daily to ensure a replacement is available if one becomes wet or soiled. Keep a face covering with you as you would your cell phone and be ready to wear it in any situation where you do not have control over someone walking into your 6-foot vicinity.

Additional protective measures

You must still stay at home and not come to campus if you are ill. This directive on face coverings complements other important community and self-protection measures which are to be consistently practiced by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors. These Stop the Spread of COVID-19 measures include:

  • Self-monitoring for symptoms and staying home when ill and reporting to your supervisor any exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals
  • Washing hands often and thoroughly
  • Refraining from touching the face, eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Practicing physical distancing
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces


The University expects the University community to behave responsibly with respect for the health and safety of others. Any employee, student, or visitor who fails to abide with this directive may be asked or directed to leave the campus space. Faculty, staff, and students who are directed to leave a campus space for failure to comply with these guidelines may be taken off duty and/or subject to disciplinary action. Employees and students should not attempt to directly enforce this directive but instead should share any concerns of suspected violations with their immediate supervisor or appropriate school official.

Practice Kindness and Patience

In implementing this directive, we must ensure a sense of wellbeing for all members of our community. We recognize that a directive to wear face coverings may exacerbate implicit biases and existing stereotypes. Avoid any stigmatization of the wearing or not wearing of face coverings. Recognize that some members of our community may be excepted from the requirements of this directive. Patience and kindness should be paramount in all our interactions as we work together to make our campus community safe and healthy and accommodating for all.

Requesting Accommodation

Individuals whose unique and individual circumstances require an exception to this directive, as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter professional, may request one. To request an exception, faculty, students, and staff should contact their applicable disability resource center or human resource representative:





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