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Face Coverings and Masks

In the best interest of the health and safety of our community, Arkansas State University has adopted a requirement all A-State employees and students to wear, through a cloth face covering (or where approved face shield) on campus to minimize the potential for COVID-19 virus spread. This aligns with the Governor’s mandate for mask usage and is based on guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Instructors in the classroom, may opt for a face shield as circumstances require.

If an employee has a particular health-related need, they should contact Human Resources for an exemption from usage of a face covering. This includes all public spaces and spaces used by multiple people. Arkansas State University will provide all employees with one (1) washable, reusable cloth mask. Students are required to use face coverings in classrooms, while entering and exiting classrooms and buildings, and any place where physical distancing of six feet is not possible.

How to use a face mask or face covering

  • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily.
  • Keep the covering on your face the entire time you are around others.
  • Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead.
  • Don’t touch the face covering and, if you do, wash your hands.

How to take off your face covering

  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties.
  • Fold outside corners together.
  • Place covering in the washing machine.
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.

Care for face coverings

  • Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use.
  • Include your face covering with your regular laundry.
  • Use regular detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.

Understanding Types and Uses of Face Coverings and Masks

While many interchange the terms face covering, mask and PPE (personal protective equipment), they are very different, and serve different functions. All units at Arkansas State are required to coordinate purchases of any of the following types of equipment through Facilities Management.

  • Cloth Face Coverings – Both commercial and homemade, they are designed to be re-usable and washable. The goal is to contain the wearer’s own emissions. The preference is for mask styles that cover the mouth and nose, are breathable, and are multiple layered material. Thinner bandana or gaiter-style covering is not preferred.
  • Disposable Masks – While they may appear similar to surgical grade, they are commercially manufactured and for one-time use (disposable). They serve the same function as a cloth face covering. These items should be maintained and provided to visitors who enter university facilities.
    • Either type of face covering – cloth or disposable – is required while in common spaces at Arkansas State University, classrooms, public areas, and work/research areas that are not isolated to a single occupant.
  • Medical-Grade Surgical Masks – These are FDA-approved to protect the wearer from large droplets as well as contain the wearer’s respiratory emissions.
  • N95 Respirator – Used in hospital, clinical or research settings, they are designed to provide effective protection from airborne particles and must be fit-tested to the individual user. These masks are for healthcare workers and other approved individuals who are in specific tasks. Approval for usage on N95 units requires proper fit testing and sign off from Office of Environmental Health.

Plan version issued: June 25, 2020