This notice was originally published in June 2020. Here's what is new:

  • Updated guidance on when to wear a face covering.

Everyone on our campuses (students, faculty, staff, visitors, and others) is required to wear a face covering or mask in the following indoor and outdoor settings.

As of December 14, all Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others outside of their own household, and when outdoors within six feet of another person outside of their own household. This order is contained in Executive Order Seventy-Two, and expands the previous statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released December 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.

Indoors:

  • Wear a face covering or mask, unless in a secluded location such as a personal office space with the door closed or a residence hall room. 
  • Exceptions* to this requirement include the following:
    • Medical condition
    • Speaking with the hearing impaired
    • Instructors lecturing in situations where wearing a mask would make them inaudible
      • In these instances, a face shield must be worn. Employees who are unable to wear a face covering or face shield should be referred to the university’s ADA and Accessibility Services office.

Outdoors:

  • Wear a face covering or mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained.


We trust and expect that members of our Virginia Tech community will each make a personal commitment to wear a face covering or mask, and abide by all public health guidelines, in order to lower the health risks for our community. 

Students, employees, and visitors are encouraged to obtain their own face coverings before returning to campus. Additionally, in high-traffic areas on campus, one-time-use face coverings will be available, as supplies allow.

The university’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) office has prepared a guide on face coverings and masks, and a recent campus notice offers additional information. 

Additionally, the EHS frequently-asked questions page shares further information on respirators, the process for departments ordering PPE, workplace accommodations and medical exemptions, and more. 

Students

Students must wear a face covering or mask in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. 

On-campus residential students will receive a kit (in their room upon arrival) that contains two cloth reusable face coverings and other supplies.

For off-campus students, face coverings will be distributed, as supplies allow, at leasing offices in large apartment complexes and at several distribution points on campus on Aug. 24 and 25.     
When in residence hall common spaces, such as hallways, study lounges, and stairwells, students should wear a face covering at all times. Face coverings should also be worn when in close proximity (less than 6 feet) with others. While in a residence hall room alone or with a roommate, students are not required to wear a face covering. If anyone beyond the primary occupants are in the room, face coverings are required.

Students with specific PPE needs or questions may reach out to Hokie Wellness by emailing hokiewellness@vt.edu or calling (540) 231-2233.

Employees

Employees must wear a face covering or mask in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. Departments will also distribute face shields to their employees.

We encourage supervisors to connect with their employees, as needed, to discuss individual concerns or questions. For the health and safety of the community, those who do not wear face coverings may face disciplinary action.

Instructors

The university will provide face shields for instructors to wear, given that face coverings could make the instructors inaudible to students. 

With regard to face coverings, we encourage instructors to connect with their students, as needed, to discuss individual circumstances. For the health and safety of the community, those who do not wear face coverings may face disciplinary action.

Additionally, the provost’s office has outlined specific guidelines for classroom conduct, including the use of face coverings. 

Researchers

Employees must wear a face covering or mask in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. For guidance on scaling laboratory operations, the use of face coverings in research and laboratory settings, and other useful information, see the Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 FAQs.

Department orders

Departments may order masks, face coverings, and other supplies through Virginia Tech's Procurement team by completing PPE/Critical Supplies Planning Survey. Procurement is distributing PPE ordered through them using a centralized process. Read this campus notice for more information.

 

Additional FAQs

  • Additional questions related to the procurement of face coverings for employees may be directed to Virginia Tech Procurement at hokiemart@vt.edu
  • Questions related to the use of face coverings may be directed to Virginia Tech Environmental Health & Safety at 540-231-3600.
  • Questions may also be directed to oem@vt.edu.

 

Yes, face coverings may be reusable or homemade cloth masks, dust masks, or surgical masks. Coverings that fit close to the face with no loose edges are the safest choice to use in labs/research spaces, shops, and similar spaces. Homemade and cloth face coverings should have several layers of fabric for added filtration.

Wearing a face covering helps protect the people around you from potential coronavirus exposure. When they wear face coverings, it helps protect you from potential exposure to the coronavirus. This is because some people with COVID-19 have no signs or symptoms and do not feel sick (or may not yet feel sick with symptoms) but can still pass the virus on to others. Wearing face coverings can help prevent viral spread by containing most of the respiratory droplets we produce when we speak, cough, sneeze, and laugh. You don’t need to be fitted or specially trained to wear a face covering.

These personal protective equipment (PPE) items are in short supply. We can do our part to control COVID-19 by using face coverings so the limited supply of respiratory PPE can be provided to those who most need it in health care settings or where required for research or other work.

All persons must obtain a type of face covering that provides a good, comfortable fit before they return to campus. Some departments may provide face coverings for employees, but such provision could be made difficult due to shortages. Because cloth face coverings are washable, reusable and inexpensive to make, they are recommended.

Departments with employees currently working in a university-owned or leased facility that need face coverings to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order can email Virginia Tech Procurement at procurement@vt.edu to request a reasonable number of either disposable surgical masks or a daily wear cloth mask for those employees. Departments planning for future operations in accordance with plans being released the week of June 8, should wait and order all PPE including face coverings through the PPE Central Distribution process (click here). The PPE distribution process will begin university wide on July 6. The HokieMart Internal Service Request (ISR) that will be utilized to request PPE will not be made available until July 6. However, face coverings or other PPE products needed for current active university operations can be obtained ahead of this time by emailing procurement@vt.edu.

Visit this page for information from the Office for Equity and Accessibility on ADA and other EEO laws as it relates to COVID-19. In addition to the guidelines in Executive Order 63 on medical exemptions for face coverings, if employees feel they need workplace accommodation because they are a member of a high-risk population, contact ADA and Accessibility Services at adaaccess@vt.edu.

When in residence hall common spaces such as hallways, study lounges, and stairwells, students should have a face covering on at all times. Face coverings should also be worn when in close proximity (less than 6 feet) with others. While in a residence hall room alone or with a roommate, students are not required to wear a face covering. If anyone beyond the primary occupants are in the room, face coverings are required.

Face shields are allowed in lieu of a face covering/mask under the following circumstances:

  • Any person seeking to communicate with the hearing impaired and for which the mouth needs to be visible;
  • Persons with health conditions that prohibit wearing a face covering. No person may be required to wear a face covering/mask when doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety because of a medical condition; and/or
  • Lecturers in lieu of a face mask provided physical distances are maintained.