Latest guidance on face coverings for all employees, students, and visitors at Virginia Tech facilities
July 10, 2020
This notice was originally published in June 2020. Here's what is new:
- New information included related to the centralized critical supply process that launched July 6
- New FAQ – Face shields
From: Virginia Tech Emergency Management, Virginia Tech Environmental Health & Safety
Under the Governor’s Executive Order 63, all university community members at Virginia Tech facilities are expected to wear face coverings when in public or common areas, including indoor spaces (e.g., classrooms, laboratories, meeting/conference rooms, dining halls, residence halls, student centers, library, hallways, lounges, and other gathering points), unless physical distancing of six (6’) feet is easily accomplished, such as in private offices or areas with greatly reduced occupancy, as well as cubicle areas where there are physical barriers.
Click here to view Environmental Health & Safety’s (EHS) guidelines on face coverings, including when to wear one, how to care for your mask, and more. This page continues to be updated with additional content around face coverings in the near future. Also included in the EHS guidelines is information about face coverings in research settings and labs and clarification around respirators/N95 masks.
Face coverings may be reusable or homemade cloth masks, dust masks, or surgical masks.
Please note that face coverings do not replace the need to practice physical distancing. The coverings help provide a measure of controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus when in public settings where other distancing measures may be difficult to consistently maintain.
Virginia Tech Procurement recently launched its centralized process around ordering and distribution of personal protective equipment and supplies (PPE). Please click here to learn more.
- Additional questions related to the procurement of face coverings for employees may be directed to Virginia Tech Procurement at firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.