Face Mask Requirements for Students
The scientific evidence is strong and compelling: face masks greatly help stop the spread of coronavirus, and universal mask wearing is one of the most important tools for preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Because of this, Denison is requiring all students, faculty, and staff to wear face coverings (face masks or face shields) on campus. Mask wearing is also compulsory under the State of Ohio’s operating standards for colleges and universities during this time.
We will be vigilant about the face mask requirement, and noncompliance can result in discipline, including separation from the University. Simply put, we are not messing around with this. Face masks are critically important for keeping one another healthy and minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Who has to wear a mask and when?
All students, faculty, and staff are required to wear face masks. Denison also requires contractors, vendors, suppliers and any other visitors to campus to wear a face covering when entering all Denison buildings, as well as in hallways, elevators, public spaces, and common areas.
Face coverings must be worn in all academic, office, residential, communal, and athletics spaces. This includes but isn’t limited to: classrooms, study spaces, all academic and other University offices, residence halls and apartment buildings, dining facilities, arts spaces, and athletics spaces. Wearing a face covering is not required when alone in a private space with the door closed, such as in a room in a residence hall or when suite mates are together in their residence hall room. However, masks are required whenever interacting with others, including in an otherwise private room or office, and masks are required in all residential common areas, including hallways (even just when walking or passing through), restrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
Face masks are required upon entering and in all common areas of athletics facilities, and are required in the Crown Fitness Center as specified in the fitness center guidelines, to be published later this summer. Student athletes are required to adhere to all mask requirements unless removing a mask is authorized while working under the supervision of Athletics training staff.
All students should have a face mask with them at all times and may be asked to leave a space if not wearing a mask, including being denied entry to classrooms without a mask.
Do I need to wear a face mask if I am indoors and six feet or more away from another person?
Yes - a mask is still required. Social distancing (of six feet or more) is just one layer protection. A face mask is a critical other protective measure and is required whenever interacting with others indoors, even where social distancing is also being observed.
Do I need to wear a face mask outside?
Yes - sometimes. While the risk of transmission may be greater in enclosed indoor spaces, COVID-19 can still spread outdoors, and face masks must be worn outdoors in areas or situations where it may be difficult to maintain six feet of physical distance from others. For example, sometimes the period in between classes can see high traffic on campus walkways. Masks must be worn when six-feet of physical distancing cannot be reliably maintained.
The Denison campus, fortunately, has many open, outdoor spaces, where people can walk, hike, and spend time alone or in small groups while also maintaining required social distancing. We encourage students this year to make use of Denison’s outdoor spaces, and we are spending time this summer creating more outside spots conducive to learning, working, and relaxing.
If you need a break from the mask during the day, or in between classes or activities, find an outdoor spot away from others and take a break.
Seriously, in the bathroom?
Yes - masks are to be worn in public and communal bathrooms (except, obviously, in the moments when showering, brushing one’s teeth, etc.). We wear our clothes into public and communal bathrooms -- same idea with the mask. No biggie.
Do I need to wear a mask in Granville or off campus?
The Village Council of Granville has formally urged everyone to wear masks in public while circulating around town (including in shops, pharmacies, the grocery store, and other establishments). Denison is an institutional citizen of Granville and cares deeply about our Granville neighbors and residents. We expect all Denison students, as residents of Granville too, to honor the town’s guidelines as well as those of the University.
As is true in many college towns around the country and world, some residents are worried about students returning to campus. We know and have confidence that our students take the moral and communal-health obligations of this moment seriously. Wearing a mask around town and in Granville establishments will help our Granville neighbors know that too.
More broadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone wear face masks in public, especially where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other public spaces. To further protect oneself and the community, we urge all students to follow those CDC recommendations even while away from Denison and Granville.
What kind of masks are required and will Denison provide them? Are scarves or neck gators acceptable?
We anticipate most students and employees will wear washable, cloth masks, but disposable surgical masks are also acceptable for single use. We encourage all students to bring their own supply of masks. Additionally, in an effort to ensure everyone has an ample supply, Denison will provide each student with an additional seven cloth masks upon move-in.
We do not consider scarves or neck gators appropriate cloth masks for campus. Proper-fitting, multi-layered cloth masks are required.
More details on cloth masks, including care instructions, are below.
What do I do if another person is not wearing their face mask when they should be?
We urge Denisonians to get comfortable reminding friends and community members about the need to wear face masks. Remind the individual that students, faculty, staff, and visitors are all required to wear a face mask while on campus.
Students may anonymously share concerns through the Blue Whistle button on the MyDenison page, which will trigger educational outreach to a student reported to not be abiding by mask requirements. Students should also feel free to discuss any concerns with Residential Communities or other Student Development staff.
Are there exceptions to the face mask requirements?
Face coverings are required in accordance with these guidelines unless one of the following exceptions applies:
- If wearing a face mask is not advisable due to health reasons;
- If there is a practical reason for not wearing a face mask or face shield (such as if the mask prevented communication in a way that could create a hazardous situation);
- If a student employee in a particular position is prohibited by law or regulation from wearing a face covering while performing a job duty; if wearing a face covering while performing a job duty is against documented industry best practices; or if wearing a face covering is a violation of a workplace safety policy.
Students who are unable to wear a face mask/covering for any of these recognized reasons should contact Jennifer Vestal (Academic Resource Center) or Michelle Barcelona (Whisler Center for Student Wellness) to be considered for accommodations.
If, when wearing a mask, you develop trouble breathing, remove the face mask/covering. If you continue to have difficulty breathing, call 911 for emergency medical response.
Cloth Mask Fit and Care Instructions
To be effective, cloth face masks should meet the following CDC guidelines:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Completely cover the nose and mouth
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be laundered without damage or change to shape
Please see the following CDC recommendations for use of face coverings and instructions on making your own, if you wish: http://cdc.gov/diy-cloth-face-coverings
Follow these instructions for caring for and putting on/off your cloth face mask:
- Thoroughly wash your hands before and after putting on and taking off your face mask, and don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when taking it off.
- Masks should fit snugly but comfortably, and allow for breathing without restriction. They should cover the chin, mouth and nose and be secured with ties or ear loops.
- Avoid touching the part of the face mask/covering that covers the nose and mouth. Only touch the sides of the mask, straps, or ties when putting on, taking off, or adjusting the mask.
- Use a new mask each day.
- Do not use a face mask if it is soiled or wet, and put on a new one if a mask becomes soiled or wet during the day.
- Launder masks regularly and ensure that it has not been damaged during washing and drying. The CDC has confirmed that a washing machine suffices to properly wash a face covering.
- Store your mask in a breathable container, such as a paper bag.