Face Coverings

UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings

Updated January 03, 2022

Effective Nov. 2, 2021

Supersedes: UMB Guidance of Nov. 2, 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 or equivalents are the only permitted face covering for faculty, staff, and students regardless of vaccination status or exemption status. As such, starting Dec. 20, all employees and students must wear a KN95 when required to wear a face covering under the UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings.  

It is strongly recommended that all faculty and staff wear a KN95 or equivalent while delivering in-person lectures or presentations. If a KN95 or equivalent is not worn, at least 10 feet of physical distance must 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.

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 for a BRIEF period of time. Wearing a face covering is not required when a person is inside an office, laboratory or designated study area, as long as they are by themselves and the door is closed.

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.

It is strongly recommended that all faculty and staff wear a KN95 or equivalent while delivering in-person lectures or presentations. If a KN95 or equivalent is not worn, at least 10 feet of physical distance must 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.

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.

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 KN95 face coverings. 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 KN95s.

To care for your KN95 mask, please view instructions here.

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.

KN95 Mask Instructions and Frequently Asked Questions

Updated December 20, 2021

The wearing of KN95 masks for certain scenarios are included in the UMB Policy Requiring the Use of Face Coverings.

What is a KN95?

KN95 masks reduce the amount of dust or virus particles a person breathes in by approximately 95 percent.

When KN95s are required, does UMB allow masks other than KN95s under the UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings?

In addition to KN95s, UMB permits individuals to wear masks with the following international classifications under the UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings. KN95 Mask Instructions are applicable for these masks. 

Please note that masks with valves are not permitted.

 Mask Class

Efficiency (≥)

Country Certification Standard

KN95

95%

China

KN100

99.97%

China

KP95 (oil proof)

95%

China

KP100 (oil proof)

99.97%

China

KF94

94%

Korea

FFP2

94%

European Union

FFP3

99%

European Union

DS2 or DL2

94%

Japan

DS3 or DL3

99%

Japan

P2

94%

Australian and New Zealand 

P3

99.95%

Australian and New Zealand 

PFF2

94%

Brazil

PFF3

99%

Brazil

Japan and the European Union have a 3-scale rating system for masks with the lowest level having an 80 percent efficiency rating. Thus, Japan DS1 or DL1 class and European Union FFP1 class masks are not permitted due to the lower efficiency level.   

How do I obtain a KN95?

UMB will provide an initial KN95 mask to each person through each school/unit. Your school/unit will provide direction on how to receive your KN95, but please feel free to provide your own. They are readily available online and in many local retailers. KN95s, while disposable, are designed to be worn multiple times safely.

How do I know if my KN95 mask is counterfeit?

UMB is supplying KN95s that have been vetted through trusted vendors.

CDC has a website with tips on how to purchase international respirators.

KN95s are not certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). CDC has a website with tips on how to identify misrepresentation of NIOSH certification and counterfeit masks.

Why use a KN95 instead of a cloth or surgical face mask?

While many face masks help prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others, they provide limited protection to the wearer. A KN95 provides better protection for the wearer than other face masks, while also reducing the spread of the virus from the wearer.

Should I wear a cloth mask with my KN95?

No, wearing a cloth mask in addition to your KN95 reduces its effectiveness.

Will a KN95 protect me during an exposure to COVID-19?

If you are exposed to the virus while wearing a KN95, you are less likely to develop COVID-19. In addition, you likely will have less-restrictive self-isolation or quarantine requirements than a person wearing a cloth or surgical mask.

How is a KN95 different from an N95?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not consider a KN95 mask a negative-pressure respirator since it has not been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Therefore, OSHA does not require a person be “fit tested” to wear a KN95. Since a person is not fit tested for a KN95, they should not use a KN95 in situations where a fit-tested N95 mask is required (for example, in clinical areas or for certain medical procedures).

Why use a KN95 instead of an N95?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that N95s be reserved for use by health care providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What other actions should I take if I wear a KN95?

Even if you wear a KN95, you should still: 

  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine and a booster if you have not already done so. The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family, friends, classmates, and co-workers from COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and call the UMB COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-701-9863.
  • Practice physical distancing when feasible.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Who should wear a KN95 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)?

The UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings outlines when a person is required to wear a face covering at UMB. The policy specifically requires or recommends a KN95 as follows:   

  • KN95s and equivalents are the only permitted face covering for all faculty, staff, and students.

Do I need to wear a KN95 mask when teaching?

It is strongly recommended that all faculty and staff wear a KN95 or equivalent while delivering in-person lectures or presentations. If a KN95 or equivalent is not worn, at least 10 feet of physical distance must 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.

Does UMB require KN95s in labs?

Everyone is required to wear a KN95 or equivalent while in a lab with other people.

How do I properly use my KN95?

  • If possible, wash or sanitize your hands immediately before and after putting your KN95 on and immediately before and after taking it off when planning to reuse it.
  • Unfold your mask and flatten the metal nose clip.
  • Place the mask over your face, with the bottom below your chin and the nosepiece up.
  • Place the straps of the mask over each of your ears.
  • Adjust the metal nose clip using fingers from both hands to mold the clip to the shape of your nose.
  • Adjust fit as necessary to reduce air flow around the mask.
  • Significant facial hair (more than 3-days growth) adversely effects the ability of the KN95 to form a tight seal around your face and thus reduces the KN95’s effectiveness at protecting you from COVID-19. Therefore, parts of your face that come in contact with the KN95 should be free of significant facial hair.
  • If you wear glasses and find fogging to be a nuisance, wash the lenses with soapy water and shake off the excess before putting on your mask (wipe off nose piece to minimize skin irritation).

What if my KN95 doesn’t fit?

The KN95s UMB purchased for distribution are universal adult sized. You are welcome to purchase your own KN95 masks. You also may wish to try a KF94 mask, which are the equivalent South Korean masks.

How should I care for and store my KN95?

Please DO NOT attempt to wash your KN95. With proper care, your KN95 should be reusable for an extended period of time.

To keep your KN95 clean between uses, store your mask in a safe location that other people cannot access and where it will not get wet or be subject to direct sunlight or excessive heat. A dry paper bag works well for storing your KN95.

When should I discard my KN95? You should replace your KN95 when it:

  • Becomes soiled
  • No longer covers the nose and mouth
  • Has stretched out or damaged ties or straps
  • Cannot stay on the face
  • Has holes or tears in the fabric

A KN95 may be disposed of in the normal trash.

Why did UMB put a KN95 mask mandate in place?

A KN95 mask provides better protection for you and reduces the spread of the virus from someone wearing one. You are less likely to develop COVID-19 after close contact with someone who tested positive when wearing one. It also means we can generally reduce or eliminate self-isolation or quarantine requirements, which is particularly important in classroom environments with students sitting in a communal setting for long periods of time.

UMB COVID-19 Guidance on Events, Eating, and Drinking

Updated December 17, 2021

As University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in-person activities increase, many students, faculty, and staff want in-person engagement opportunities. Although more than 98 percent of on-campus students and more than 95 percent of on-campus employees are vaccinated against COVID-19, due to the Delta variant UMB has implemented additional safety measures for events, eating, and drinking.

Events that adhere to UMB health safety requirements are informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), University System of Maryland, local, and state guidance. Dean or vice president approval is needed for events that exceed established criteria. Faculty and staff should consult their dean or VP’s office to learn of any additional considerations. School-based student organizations should speak with their student affairs deans to learn about additional requirements. Campus-based student organizations can contact UMB Student Affairs.

In addition to guidelines outlined in the UMB Return to Campus Guide, including the UMB COVID-19 Vaccination Protocols and the UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings, please note the following:

  1. As of Sept. 20, 2021, UMB indoor events may not provide food that is intended to be eaten at the event — only grab-and-go food and beverages will be permitted. This will minimize the need to remove masks while in group settings and thereby reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 on campus.
    1. People attending such events are subject to UMB COVID exposure protocol that may include self-isolation, and not being allowed on campus if a person who attended the event tests positive. 
  2. University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) or UMB-sponsored social or community events outside of the hospital or UMB premises (e.g., sporting events, fundraising events, celebrations, etc.) must follow UMB guidelines for community events on premises, as well as applicable state and national guidelines for occupancy, masking, et cetera. UMMS and UMB will refrain from providing tickets to UMMS or UMB-sponsored events for networking (e.g., sporting events, etc.). Requests for student events will be reviewed by UMB Student Affairs.

  3. At this time, UMB strongly recommends against hosting/sponsoring indoor events such as those normally scheduled in celebration of the holiday season (for example, holiday parties) for 2021.

  4. Identify the event’s location and assess how many people can safely attend. Consider attendance at in-person activities as optional and offer hybrid or virtual accommodations when possible. Account for physical distancing restrictions in rooms/facilities and not just capacity limits.
  5. As of Dec. 20, 2021, a KN95 or equivalent 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. See the UMB Policy Requiring Use of Face Coverings for additional details.

  6. Offer registration in advance and onsite in case there is a COVID-19 exposure and contact tracing needed.
    1. Students, faculty, and staff who are working, studying, or living on campus or in University or affiliated organization buildings on campus, or clinical practices off campus who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 should call the UMB Hotline.

  7. Use current capacity guidelines projected by the University Health Focus Area:

 

 

Fall Operations

Indoor gatherings

and meetings

Up to 25 people; larger size meetings require Dean or VP designee approval

Outdoor gatherings

and meetings

Up to 250 people; larger size meetings require Dean or VP designee approval

Events exceeding 25 visitors in attendance

Please contact your Dean or VP designee during the proposal process [1]

[1] UMB permits events with over 25 people with approval from a Dean or VP office. UMB requires approval from the Dean’s or VP’s office to confirm the proposed facilities and safety measures are adequate for the event. Prior to the start of the fall semester, UMB reviewed its classroom facilities and safety measures to confirm they were appropriate. Thus, additional approvals to hold classes are not required at this time

UMB Student Affairs in collaboration with the schools is requiring student organizations to register their events using UMBengaged, an online student engagement platform. The online event registration process will ask students to consider a variety of risks associated with holding events, including, but not limited to, COVID-19 health safety considerations.

Updated guidance regarding events in fall 2021 will be shared as more allowances or restrictions are announced by UMB leadership.  

Other Information on Face Coverings