Required COVID-19 Face Mask Protocols

Updated July 30, 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

Face masks are required in all indoor spaces for everyone on the Purdue University campus, including students, employees and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

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.

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

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