Required COVID-19 Face Mask Protocols

Updated February 15, 2021 

Effective May 26, 2020, the university implemented required protocols including the required correct use of face masks to help protect the most vulnerable members of the Purdue community.  

Who should wear a face mask 

Anyone on campus, including students, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors, is required to correctly wear a face mask.  

Those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine and/or been infected with the virus are still required to correctly wear a face mask.

When and where face masks are required 

Correctly worn face masks are required upon entry to any campus building.  

A face mask must be worn correctly:  

  • In all hallways, public spaces, common areas and classrooms at all times.  
  • In shared offices, shops, conference rooms and lab spaces.
  • By staff at desks behind Plexiglas shields anytime another person is in the room.  
  • When traveling in a vehicle with more than one person.
  • Outdoors if continuous safe social distancing is not possible.  

Masks may be removed in private offices, but should be worn anytime another person is in the room.

You should carry at least two face masks with you daily to ensure that you have a replacement if one becomes wet or dirty while you are on campus. 

Failure to comply with this and other required COVID-19 protocols may result in disciplinary action through existing disciplinary processes. 

Mask materials and design 

You may use a homemade or purchased cloth or disposable face mask.  A multi-ply tightly woven cotton cloth or multi-ply disposable face mask is recommended.  The face mask must not have an exhalation valve or introduce a hazard in the workplace. 

Face masks should not be altered in any way that compromises the function of the mask to block aerosol or droplet emission. For example, cutting holes in the mask to increase breathability or to allow for drinking is not allowed. 

Single layer neck gaiters or neck fleeces made of synthetic fabrics (for example, polyester/spandex blends) have been shown to be ineffective in stopping aerosol and droplet emissions and are not an approved substitute for face masks. Gaiters advertised as “breathable” are not suitable.

Neck gaiters or neck fleeces made of multiple layers of natural fibers such as cotton may be worn. Please pay close attention to the composition of the neck gaiter/fleece to ensure that it adheres to campus standards for face masks. Single layer gaiters can be folded to provide triple layer protection.

Information on how to make a face mask is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Guidance from Procurement on how Purdue units can purchase face masks and other COVID-19 essential supplies is available. 

How to wear a face mask correctly 

Putting on and wearing a face mask correctly: 

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.  
  • Touch only the ear loops or ties and place them over your ears.   
  • Adjust the mask to cover your nose and mouth, and secure it under your chin.  The face mask must cover both the mouth and nose of the wearer at all times. 
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.  
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.  
  • Avoid touching your mask until it’s time to take it off.  

Removing a face mask correctly:  

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. 
  • Touch only the ear loops or ties and remove them from your ears.  Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing. 
  • For disposable masks: 
    • Dispose of mask in trash receptacle.
    • To reuse: Fold outside corners of mask together and place the mask in a bag (plastic or paper). 
  • For cloth masks: 
    • To reuse: Fold outside corners of mask together and place the mask in a bag (plastic or paper). 
    • To wash: follow CDC guidance on how to wash a cloth face mask
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. 

More information on how to wear a mask is available from the CDC. 

Updated information from the CDC (February 10, 2021)

The CDC has provided updated recommendations to use masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, including considerations for individuals choosing to wear two masks. 

Mask cleaning and care 

Instructions on how to wash a cloth face mask are available from the CDC.  

Face shields

Face shields alone cannot be used as substitute for face masks. Wearing both a face shield and a face mask simultaneously is encouraged (and may be required) in instructional spaces to add additional layers of protection. Full guidance on the use of face shields is available from Radiological and Environmental Management.

Dr. Esteban Ramirez: How to correctly wear face mask