UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings

August 3, 2020 (updated July 1, 2021)

Effective July 1, 2021

Supersedes: UMB Guidance of May 13, 2021 Regarding Cloth Face Coverings

It is established that face coverings are vital to control of the spread of COVID-19. UMB adopts this policy in the interest of minimizing risk of spread of COVID-19 among students, faculty, staff, clients, and others coming to the campus.

POLICY: Individuals who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 must wear a face covering must be worn at all times while on UMB campus or at an off-campus location occupied by UMB community members (e.g., Shady Grove, MPRC, Donaldson Brown, Columbus Center, etc.). UMB’s campus is defined as including all property owned, leased, or operated by UMB. Individuals, whether vaccinated against COVID-19 or not, must wear a face covering when riding any bus or shuttle operated by UMB.

SCOPE: This policy applies to students, faculty and staff, campus visitors, volunteers, clients and patients, and campus contractors and their employees who are not vaccinated. This policy does not apply to patients who are subject to other policies related to face coverings or masks.

FACE COVERING: “Face Covering” means a covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth, but is not a Medical-Grade Mask. Medical grade masks are acceptable face coverings, but are not required in non-clinical settings.

Bandanas, gaiters, scarves, and masks with valves are not approved face coverings at UMB.

NON-COMPLIANCE: Non-vaccinated employees and students who are non-compliant will receive warnings, reprimands, or other appropriate discipline. Supervisors and academic administrators are responsible to monitor compliance, encourage responsible use of face coverings, and administer disciplinary sanctions for non-vaccinated individuals violating this policy. Reports of uncooperative individuals can be directed to Environmental Health and Safety via web form available on the COVID-19 Recovery website.

EXCEPTIONS: Wearing a face covering is not required of a non-vaccinated individual when the person is inside an office, laboratory or study area, as long as they are by themselves. Six feet of physical distancing must be maintained between people who are eating or drinking because it requires removing the face covering.

UMB no longer requires masks and face coverings be worn outdoors with the following exception: Masks are still required for non-vaccinated individuals at outdoor gatherings where attendees will be in fixed seating for more than 15 minutes and for which 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be sustained.


Face coverings are not a substitute for maintaining social or physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others. Wear face covering and conduct conversations from a distance of at least six feet.

Face coverings should cover the nose and mouth, fit securely, and be worn as intended to prevent escape of respiratory droplets form the wearer’s nose or mouth.

Face coverings are not personal protective equipment (PPE). Instead, face coverings are intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 from people who may be carrying the virus but are not currently exhibiting symptoms. Face coverings may offer some protection for the wearer, but that is not the primary purpose of wearing face coverings.

Employees are free to use their own personal face coverings, and employees who are able to make or provide their own face coverings are encouraged to do so. Face coverings used at work should be in good taste and considered as part of professional attire.

Contractors working on campus must issue similar guidance about face coverings to their employees, and contractors should make efforts to ensure employees have and use face coverings or have the ability to make/obtain face coverings.

When using a face covering, follow these guidelines:

  • Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water before putting on a face covering.
  • Ensure the face covering fits snugly around your mouth and nose.
  • Avoid touching the face covering while using it; if you do touch it, wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not wear a face covering when it is damp or when wet from saliva, mucus or perspiration. Carry multiple face coverings if necessary to avoid use of damp or wet face coverings.
  • When removing the face covering, remove it from behind, and do not touch the front of the face covering.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after removing the face covering.
  • It is a good idea to wash your face covering frequently, ideally at the end of each day. Put your face coverings in a bag or a bin until they can be hand- or machine-washed with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle or hung to dry in a safe place. If you must re-wear your face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face. Discard face coverings that:
    • No longer cover the nose and mouth
    • Have stretched-out or damaged ties or straps
    • Cannot stay on the face
    • Have holes or tears in the fabric
    • Do not lower a face covering below your nose, or below your nose and mouth, to have conversations with others.
    • If eyeglasses become fogged, remove and clean the glasses. Do not remove your face covering.

If your UMB duties require you to enter a University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) facility or other health care facility, please be aware of and strictly observe that facility’s policy regarding face coverings and PPE. Be prepared to exchange a face covering acceptable to UMB for a face covering or PPE as required by the facility.

This policy will be revised as CDC and other officials update their recommendations.