Executive Council

Authorizes Release:

Vice President for Administration and Finance

Responsible Area:

Administration - Risk Management

Review Cycle:

Annually or as required

Last Review:

August 2020

In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the St. Mary’s campus, the University has instituted a mandatory face mask / covering policy for the 2020-21 academic year. Please help to ensure the safety of our campus community by adhering to this policy.

Everyone on campus is required to wear a face mask / covering over the nose and mouth when indoors. This includes classrooms, public restrooms, open office and common spaces, hallways, meeting rooms, libraries and other indoor spaces. Face masks / coverings are also required outdoors when six-foot social distancing cannot be maintained at all times.

Students, faculty and staff may use face masks / coverings provided by the University or supply their own, provided they meet the requirements as defined by this policy. The University will not provide daily face masks / coverings to individuals who forget them. Community members are encouraged to carry extra face masks / coverings to ensure they have one to wear at all times.

  • Face masks / coverings are not optional; individuals without a face mask / covering, or who refuse to wear one, will be asked to leave an indoor University location.
  • Face masks / coverings must be made of cloth or a disposable material. They may not have vents or exhalation valves (other than approved NIOSH rated N95 masks) and should have multiple layers of fabric or cloth.
  • Face masks / coverings and their designs should be inoffensive, professional and appropriate for our community and business setting.
  • Employees may remove face masks / coverings when alone in their own offices or enclosed workspaces when social distancing of more than six feet can be observed at all times.
  • Students may remove face masks / coverings in their own residence hall rooms.
  • Students, faculty and staff may remove face masks / coverings when actively eating or drinking, but face masks / coverings should be worn as much as possible during these activities.
  • Guests, visitors, vendors and contractors will be expected to honor these guidelines and provide their own face coverings to keep the community safe.


Individuals who are unable to wear cloth face masks / coverings due to a documented and registered medical or behavioral condition or disability may wear an alternate face mask / covering, such as a shield, and maintain a minimum six-foot physical distance at all times. In such circumstances, students who require accommodations must be registered with and be assigned an accommodation by Student Accessibility Services before they attend class or an indoor activity. Employees or campus visitors who require accommodations should contact the Office of Human Resources before reporting to campus. Without exception, all exemptions must be approved by the formal campus entity before the individual can exercise this exemption.

In coordination with the Provost’s office and faculty, deans may grant a waiver to this policy for students and faculty in a specific class, if requested by the faculty member or student and necessary to meet the curricular requirements of the course (e.g., theater, voice, language instruction, etc.). In those classes, a minimum six-foot social distance must be maintained at all times, in addition to other protocols that may be established by the University. Any such waiver must be formally recognized and approved by the University.


St. Mary’s University is relying on members of our community to adhere to and assist with enforcing these standards of behavior. Members of the community should speak up if they encounter someone violating the face mask / covering policy. Faculty, student organizations and office teams should clearly define how they will enforce the face mask / covering policy in their spaces. Individuals who fail to wear face masks / coverings as required by this policy may be reported for non-compliance to the Office of Student Conduct (students) or the Office of Human Resources (employees) and disciplined under the appropriate handbook provisions.

Visitors and third parties who do not adhere to this policy may be asked to leave the campus and / or be issued a trespass warning. The University may utilize existing policies, including but not limited to policies related to behavior that endangers self or others, for enforcement when intentional or unintentional violations of COVID-19 policies occur.

Consistent with the University’s statement of non-discrimination, St. Mary’s will not tolerate discrimination, profiling, bias or any form of racial intimidation in conjunction with this or any other COVID-related policies and any reported incidents will be addressed in accordance with University policy.

All members of our campus community are expected to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols and policies. Signage exists around campus to remind students, faculty and staff that face masks / coverings are required and how to properly wear them.

Mask Specifications

Cloth face coverings and cloth masks should have more than one layer of fabric and adhere to the specifications outlined below. The use of cloth face coverings and masks is intended to provide a comfortable physical barrier to prevent the transmission of any respiratory droplets and should be effective for this purpose.

Face masks / coverings:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face.
  • Must cover both mouth and nose.
  • Must be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Include multiple layers of fabric.
  • Allow for breathing without restriction.
  • Must be laundered and cleaned by appropriate means to ensure efficacy or otherwise discarded at the appropriate use intervals if disposable by design.

Face masks / coverings should not:

  • Be made of mesh or an otherwise ineffective material that does not capture droplets.
  • Have vents for exhalation valves (other than approved NIOSH rated N95 masks).
  • Include language or images that can be considered offensive, threatening or inconsistent with the professional standards and expectations of the St. Mary’s University campus.
  • Be seen as a substitute for social distancing. Please continue to observe the rules regarding appropriate distancing while on campus.
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