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Masks and PPE

Masks are mandatory on all Indiana University campuses because they are an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks decrease the spread of respiratory droplets produced during talking, sneezing, and coughing.

Wearing a mask is critical.

A Black woman leads a discussion of students sitting at desks distanced six feet apart. The lecturer and students are all wearing cloth face masks.

Masks are mandatory in campus buildings and on campus transportation. They are also mandatory in outdoor spaces when physical distancing is difficult.

This requirement applies to all members of the university community, including employees, students, contractors, suppliers, vendors, and visitors.

See detailed guidance on masks at IU

Where masks are required

Types of campus spaces and situations where masks are required include, but are not limited to:

  • all classrooms
  • office spaces (including cubicles)
  • elevators
  • hallways
  • fitness centers
  • library study rooms
  • locations where you might briefly come into contact with others, such as seating near aisleways
  • when presenting, including in classrooms, auditoriums, and during events
  • in outdoor spaces if you're not able to maintain physical distancing from others

Masks are not required:

  • in enclosed spaces when one person is present with the door closed
  • during eating or drinking as long you are able to maintain adequate physical distance from others
  • during university-sanctioned artistic performances, such as when playing wind and brass instruments, acting, singing, etc.

Note: Employees may eat/drink at their workspaces in an open or cubicle environment as long as physical distancing can be maintained (see policy UA-21 for more details). Eating and/or drinking is not allowed in classrooms and labs (see policy STU-02 for more details).

Cloth masks are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and are not a replacement for proper PPE in particular settings where specific respiratory protection is required.

Three young adults look at pieces of art at the Eskenazi Museum of Art of Indiana University.

Recommended types of masks

All IU employees and students will be provided with two washable, cloth masks before the fall 2020 semester begins.

While masks will be provided for employees and students, you may also choose to wear your own. If you do, we recommend it conform to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and:

  • fully cover your mouth and nose
  • fit snugly against the sides of your face with no gaps
  • have ties or ear loops to prevent slipping

Surgical/isolation masks are a good option.

If you wear glasses, consider a mask with a semi-rigid nasal arch to reduce fog on your lenses.

Examples of masks that are not acceptable include (but are not limited to):

  • covering your face with a t-shirt
  • scarves
  • gaiters
  • bandannas

Putting on and removing your mask

To safely put on your mask:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Touch only the ear loops and place them over your ears.
  • Do not touch your face covering except to adjust it to your nose and face.
  • Ensure your face covering fits over your nose and under your chin.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when putting on your mask.

To safely remove your mask:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Touch only the ear loops and remove them from your ears.
  • For reuse, place the covering in a paper bag.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when taking off your mask.

Caring for your mask

  • Frequently launder masks. Use the warmest water temperature permissible and laundry detergent and allow them to dry completely before reuse. It isn't necessary to bleach masks.
  • Disposable surgical masks may be reused up to ten days if they don't get wet, soiled, damaged, or misshapen, and may be placed in the garbage when disposed.
  • Inspect masks. Before reusing a mask, inspect it for damage. If it is damaged or misshapen, replace it or repair it before reuse.

Visit the CDC website for detailed information on the use of cloth masks.

IU guidance on masks and PPE