Returning to Mines

A tool kit for safely returning to campus

Returning
to Mines

A tool kit for safely
returning to campus

Student Safety: Wear a Face Mask

Wearing a face mask is an important part of the COVID-19 safety equation. You’ve seen the memes and they are (actually) backed by science—your mask protects me and my mask protects you.

When and where do I need to wear a face mask on campus?

Mines students, faculty, staff, visitors and vendors are required to wear a cloth face mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times when indoors at any university facility.

That means: academic buildings, administrative buildings, club offices, Arthur Lakes Library, Ben Parker Student Center, Student Rec Center (unless you’re swimming), classrooms, laboratories, shared offices—if you’re inside (and not in your personal residence hall room or alone in a private office) you should be wearing a mask.

All individuals must wear a face mask outdoors when social distancing of 6 feet or more is not possible. That includes when walking on campus paths and sidewalks, especially during class passing periods and whenever you are walking with someone else.

A few more examples of when to wear a face mask:

  • In classrooms
  • In your residence hall when you are not in your own room
  • In laboratories when another person is in the space;
  • In offices and rooms when there is another person in the same space;
  • In office cubicles when someone is sitting on the other side of a shared wall;
  • In hallways, stairways and elevators;
  • During brief face-to-face (less than 6 feet apart) encounters outdoors, in hallways or offices;
  • Using common areas including break rooms, copy rooms or restrooms

There are very limited scenarios in which a face mask is not required on campus. In all of these scenarios, however, you must have a face mask readily available (on your person) at all times and must put on a face mask whenever you encounter another person, or someone enters your space.

Scenarios in which a face mask is not required include:

  • When a person is alone in an enclosed individual office or laboratory, or is in their personal residence hall room or apartment;
  • Working alone in a remote location;
  • Working outdoors and able to easily maintain 6 feet of separation from other people; or
  • When you are actively eating or drinking. NOTE: Food and drinks other than water are NOT permitted inside classrooms until further notice.

What does Mines consider an acceptable face mask?

Under the university’s official mask policy, a face mask is defined as:

  • A covering made of multiple layers of cloth, fabric or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face.

Face masks should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be constructed of disposable mask materials or include multiple layers of fabric that can be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape.
  • Be replaced when they become damaged, dirty, wet and/or difficult to breathe through.

This is an important one: Face masks must cover the nose and mouth at all times.

NOTE: Any face mask that incorporates a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling is NOT a face mask under this policy and is NOT to be used to comply with Mines mask requirements.  Valves of this type permit droplet release from the mask and put others nearby at risk.

Poster on how to properly wear a mask

How should I take care of my face mask?

Reusable cloth masks should be worn for a maximum of one day and washed after EVERY use. It’s a good idea to have a few masks on hand so you can rotate them and always have a clean mask on hand.  

Washing your reusable cloth mask is easy.

  • Throw masks in with your regular laundry using hot water and put it in the dryer on high heat.  
  • Don’t have access to a washer? You can wash your mask by hand using hot, soapy water, scrubbing for at least 20-30 seconds. Let it dry completely, either on high heat in the dryer or by air drying. 

How you handle your mask matters, too. 

  • When removing a mask, make sure to wash your hands before and after touching the mask.
  • Only touch the bands or ties when putting on or taking off your mask.

For more advice on taking care of your face mask, check out the Johns Hopkins website.  

What if I can’t wear a face mask due to a medical condition?

Students who have a medical condition that prevents the use of a face mask may request an accommodation under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).  Students making an ADA request should direct the request to Disability Support Services.

Students with questions or concerns about this policy or who need additional support should contact the Dean of Students Office. 

Tips & tricks for common mask issues

We get it: Wearing a mask all the time sucks. Here are some tips, tricks and hacks for making the best of the situation. Goodbye, fogged-up glasses! Hello, t-shirt mask!

Banishing Foggy Glasses, Sore Ears and ‘Mask-ne’ (Washington Post)

No-Sew T-Shirt Mask (AARP)

Need a mask in a pinch? Check this quick video from AARP on how to make a summer-friendly, double-layered mask with just a cotton t-shirt and a pair of scissors.

3d-printed surgical mask tension release band

Print your own Face Mask ‘Ear Saver’ (NIH 3D Print Exchange)

Wearing a mask for long periods of time can lead to sore ears. Relieve tension and practice your additive manufacturing skills by printing this National Institute of Health 3D Print Exchange-approved design for a “Surgical Mask Tension Release Band for Ear Comfort & Extended Use.”

Outdoor Research face mask

18 Facemasks We Actually Like to Wear (Wired Magazine)

The Wired team compiled this list after their homemade masks started “looking a little ragged.”

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