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Face Covering Protocol

Updated June 8, 2021

The University of Minnesota has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our communities throughout the pandemic, thanks to simple but important public health precautions, including wearing face coverings. The following Face Covering Protocol provides specific direction to anyone on a University property across the state. It is in effect until further notice.

Any member of the University community or a guest may wear a face covering for health or other lawful reasons. All faculty, staff, and students are expected to respect others’ decisions to wear a face covering. We must ensure a sense of wellbeing for all members of our community, and patience and kindness are important in all we do together to make our campus communities safe, healthy, and accommodating for all.


Face Covering means a CDC-recommended face covering. Other face masks expressly approved by the University are acceptable. No face covering will work properly if it does not fit snugly on your face. When face coverings are required under this protocol, a properly fitted face covering is required.

Fully Vaccinated means two weeks have passed since receiving a second dose in a two-dose series or since receiving a single dose vaccine of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization authorized COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, AstraZeneca/Oxford, or Sinopharm).

Posted Space means any University property that contains University approved signs or notices, including information provided by supervisors or building management, that indicate face coverings are required. Only spaces permitted or approved under the University’s COVID-19 restriction exception process qualify as posted spaces under this protocol.

University Property means all properties (owned or leased) within the University’s Real Estate Inventory and University transportation services, including on any University campus.

Unvaccinated Individual means anyone who is not fully vaccinated (see above).


In Posted Spaces

In posted spaces, all University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers) are required to use a face covering that is properly fitted to cover one’s nose and mouth, wrap under the chin, and not have any noticeable gaps. Face coverings are required in these spaces regardless of COVID-19 vaccination or suspected immunity status.    

Fully Vaccinated Individuals

A fully vaccinated individual is not required to wear face coverings on University property, except in posted spaces or as expressly directed by the University Health Emergency Response Office or authorized federal or state health officials in emergency circumstances. Fully vaccinated individuals may wear a face covering for health or other lawful reasons if they choose to do so. This protocol does not change any workplace requirements that require personal protective equipment such as respirators or similar equipment.

Unvaccinated Individuals

All University of Minnesota faculty, staff, students, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers) who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are expected to use an acceptable face covering when on University property. The face covering must be properly fitted to cover one’s nose and mouth, wrap under the chin, and not have any noticeable gaps.


When face coverings are required or expected under this protocol, face coverings need not be worn in the following settings:

  • When eating or drinking, as long as individuals comply with any other posted restrictions.
  • When alone in an office, private study area, or other space. 
  • When alone in a motor vehicle or utility vehicle used for University business.
  • When the task requires and the law permits the use of a specific type of respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health and the respirator is worn.
  • When teaching or lecturing as part of a University course at a distance of at least six feet from another individual. In this circumstance, instructors may use a University issued or approved face shield in lieu of a face mask if a face mask would unduly hamper classroom instruction.
  • Children under the age of 2 years or anyone unable to remove a face mask without assistance.
  • When asked to remove the face mask by a school or law enforcement official to verify identity.
  • While receiving a service—including a dental examination or procedure, medical examination or procedure, or personal care service—that cannot be performed when a mask is worn.
  • When a public safety worker is actively engaged in a public safety role during which wearing a face mask would seriously interfere with the performance of their public safety job duties.
  • When a face mask cannot be worn while playing a musical instrument, provided the activity is carried out according to any other applicable University requirements.
  • When an accommodation is necessary as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter expert and granted by express written permission of the University.

Fitting and wearing a face covering

A good face covering fit is critical to optimizing its performance.

Face covering wearers should follow these guidelines:

  • The covering must completely cover one’s nose and mouth, wrap under the chin, and not have any noticeable gaps.
  • Wash or use sanitizer on hands before and after touching the covering.
  • Avoid touching the front of the face covering as much as possible (e.g., if it’s equipped with ear loops, only touch ear loops).
  • Do not touch the face covering except to adjust it.
  • Do not share your face covering with other individuals.

Information on how to improve how your mask protects you is available from the CDC.

Face covering, care, quantity and storage

For faculty, staff, and students, 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 mobile phone and be ready to wear it in any situation where it is outlined in this protocol.

Instructions for properly caring for cloth face coverings can be found in the CDCs How to Store and Wash Masks guidance.

Additional protective measures

To limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect those around you, you must continue to stay at home and away from others on campus if you are ill. This protocol on face coverings complements other important community public health preventions, including:

  • Self-monitoring for symptoms
  • Testing when needed
  • Practicing good personal hygiene, such as washing your hands often and thoroughly


The University expects all members of the University community to continue to do their part to protect the health and safety of others. Employees and students should not attempt to directly enforce this directive, but instead should share any concerns about others’ behavior with their supervisor or a school official.

Requesting Accommodation

Individuals whose unique circumstances require an exception to this protocol, as indicated by a medical or similar subject matter professional, may request one. To do so, please contact the applicable disability resource center or human resource representative on each campus:





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