UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings

August 3, 2020 (updated September 30, 2021)

Effective Sept. 30, 2021

Supersedes: UMB Guidance of Sept. 9, 2021 Regarding Cloth Face Coverings

(Para leer esta política en español, haga clic aquí Política de la UMB sobre el uso requerido de cubierta facial)

It is established that face coverings are vital to control 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: A face covering must be worn at all times indoors while on UMB’s campus or at an off-campus location occupied by UMB community members (e.g., Shady Grove, MPRC, Donaldson Brown, Columbus Center, etc.), regardless of vaccination status and with the specified exceptions below. UMB’s campus is defined as including all property owned, leased, or operated by UMB. This includes all buses or shuttles operated by UMB.

SCOPE: This policy applies to students, faculty and staff, campus visitors, volunteers, clients and patients, and campus contractors and their employees. 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.

KN95s are the only permitted face covering for unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students – whether they have a valid exemption or not. As such, starting Sept. 15, unvaccinated employees and students must wear a KN95 when required to wear a face covering under the UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings.  

KN95s are required for fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff when participating in classroom and training activities. Fully vaccinated faculty or staff delivering in-person lectures or presentations may remove their KN95 while lecturing as long as at least 6 feet of physical distance can be maintained between the faculty member or presenter and the students or other audience. Faculty or staff who are not vaccinated must wear a KN95 while lecturing.

Starting immediately, KN95s are strongly recommended for fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff when participating in group activities where 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained or more than five people are present.

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.

EXCEPTIONS: Wearing a face covering is not required when a person is eating, drinking, inside an office, laboratory or designated study area, as long as they are by themselves.

People who are not vaccinated must practice physical distancing when they are indoors and remove their face covering to eat or drink. Physical distancing is encouraged for fully vaccinated people when they are indoors and remove their face covering to eat or drink.

A person can remove their mask while they are seated in their cubicle if the following criteria are met:

  • They are fully vaccinated;
  • The walls of their cubicle extend above the top of their head when they are seated;
  • A cubicle wall is between themselves and other people seated in the area;
  • No one is seated closer than 6 feet from them on the open side of their cubicle.

Fully vaccinated faculty or staff delivering in-person lectures or presentations may remove their face covering while lecturing as long as at least 6 feet of physical distance can be maintained between the faculty member or presenter and the students or other audience. Faculty or staff who are not vaccinated must wear a face covering while lecturing.

Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after a final COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Consistent with state of Maryland and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, UMB no longer requires masks and face coverings be worn outdoors with the following exception: Masks are not required when people are outdoors, except for at gatherings where attendees will be in fixed seating for more than 15 minutes without 6 feet of physical distancing.

Face coverings are not required for children under age 2.

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

disabilityservices@umaryland.edu

Faculty and staff: Human Resource Services

HRELR@umaryland.edu

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.

GUIDANCE ON FACE COVERINGS:

Instructions for fit and care of KN95 masks can be found here.

Face coverings are not a substitute for maintaining physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others. Wearing a face covering while conducting conversations from a distance of at least six feet is encouraged where feasible.

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.