Required COVID-19 Face Mask Protocols

Updated July 15, 2021 

On 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. These protocols have been routinely re-evaluated and updated according to the latest guidance from Purdue’s Medical Advisory Team and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Indiana Department of Health and other scientific organizations. 

When and where face masks are required

Outdoors

Face masks are not required outdoors on campus. 

Indoors

For those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have their vaccination record on file with Purdue, face masks are not required in non-instructional indoor spaces — such as research spaces, dining halls, the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center, offices, lobbies and libraries.  

Until a greater share of the campus community is vaccinated against COVID-19 and has documentation of their vaccination on file with Purdue, a correctly worn face mask remains required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in classroom and instructional spaces (defined as anything that falls under this SOP), including scheduled classes, student orientation, help sessions, and supplemental instruction.

Those who are not vaccinated or who do not have proof of vaccination on file with Purdue must continue to wear a mask in all indoor spaces. Violations will be considered violations of the Protect Purdue Pledge and will be subject to disciplinary action through existing disciplinary processes. 

Acceptable 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).  

How to wear a face mask correctly 

Guidance on how to correctly wear a mask is available from the CDC. 

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