UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings

August 3, 2020 (updated February 9, 2023)

(Para leer esta política en español, haga clic aquí Politica de la UMB sobre el uso obligatorio de mascarilla para COVID-19)

SCOPE: This policy applies to students, faculty and staff, campus visitors, volunteers, clients and patients, and campus contractors and their employees. Students, faculty, and staff must follow respiratory protection requirements as part of the personal protective equipment requirements for their position or educational activity. This policy does not apply to patients who are subject to other policies related masking.   

The policy applies to the UMB campus to include property owned, leased, or operated by UMB and buses or shuttles operated by UMB.  Students, faculty, and staff must follow the masking requirements for off-site campus locations such as Shady Grove, Columbus Center, etc.

POLICY: Regardless of vaccination status, masks are only required for people 2 years or older in the following locations:

  • Patient care and clinical areas to include patient waiting areas
  • In-person healthcare simulation labs — face shields/eye protection are not required in health care simulation labs for protection against COVID-19. However, face shields/eye protection may be required to simulate real-world conditions or for other educational purposes. Each school dean or designee will determine what is appropriate for their particular school and programs within that school.

Schools, units, supervisors, and/or faculty cannot mandate masking for COVID-19 in locations not covered under this policy. 

Upon request from a school or on her own initiative, the UMB Public Health Officer (or designee) may impose a temporary masking requirement or other recommendations in consultation with school leaders based on outbreaks or other identified risks. Such approval may be granted for a maximum of 30 days and can be renewed upon subsequent request and approval from the Officer (or designee). Any action of the Officer under this section will be communicated to the impacted individuals.


  • Medical-grade, KN95 or N95 where masking is required. Cloth masks, bandanas, gaiters, scarves, and masks with valves are not permitted at UMB.

When a mask is required, it must be worn in a manner that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth.

UMB continues to support students, faculty, and staff that choose to voluntarily wear a mask on campus.

UMB strongly encourages unvaccinated people or people who are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccine to (1) get their primary vaccine series and recommended booster vaccine and (2) to wear a KN95 or equivalent mask when interacting with people indoors until they are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccine.

NON-COMPLIANCE: Persons who do not comply with this Policy may be asked to leave the campus. Employees and students who are non-compliant will receive warnings, reprimands, or other appropriate discipline. Supervisors and academic administrators are responsible for monitoring compliance, encouraging responsible use of face coverings, and administering disciplinary sanctions. Reports of uncooperative individuals can be directed to Environmental Health and Safety via this form.

UMB recognizes that some persons may not be able to safely wear a face covering. Reasonable accommodations may be available for individuals with a disability. Individuals seeking an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact:

Students: Educational Support and Disability Services

Faculty and staff: Human Resource Services

Any person given an accommodation will receive a written notice of the details of the accommodation (e.g., face shield or other alternative safety measures) that should be carried when on campus without wearing a face covering. Neither the ADA nor Maryland law provides a blanket exemption to allow people with disabilities to avoid complying with legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operations.


What is the difference between surgical/medical masks and KN95 or N95s?

Students, faculty, and staff may wear medical-grade masks or KN95s or N95s in areas where universal masking is required. All these masks reduce the spread of the virus from the person wearing a mask. However, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study (2022) found that consistently wearing a N95 or KN95 mask in indoor public settings reduced the odds of getting COVID-19 by 83 percent. The study included settings where the person interacted with others who were NOT wearing a mask. The study found that medical-grade (surgical) masks also reduce the odds of getting COVID-19, but at a lower level (66 percent).

Therefore, a person should consider their personal health and circumstances along with the different protection levels each mask offers when selecting whether to wear surgical/medical masks or KN95s or N95s where universal masking is required.