Face Coverings and Masks

Everyone on a USU campus is expected to wear a face covering or mask whenever social distancing is difficult. Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued an executive order on June 26, 2020, requiring face coverings in state buildings, including higher education institutions.

USU follows state guidelines for the use of face coverings – cloth masks, scarves, gaiters, and bandanas – to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when social distancing cannot be maintained. Face masks that cover the nose and mouth must be worn by all students, faculty, staff, and visitors on campus whenever social distancing is difficult.

Cloth face coverings should be laundered routinely. Disposable face masks should only be worn for one day before disposing.

Face Coverings Are Expected When...

  • Inside all university buildings, except in work spaces when social distancing rules can be followed.
    See executive order.
  • In USU vehicles when riding with others.
  • Outside when it is difficult to stay 6 feet from others.
  • Elevators, hallways, break rooms, and other common areas where social distancing may not be possible.

Face Coverings Are Not Expected When...

  • In office areas occupied by a single individual or when seated and social distancing is maintained.
  • As a participant in recreation facilities when social distancing can be maintained.
  • Outside when social distancing can be maintained.
  • In break rooms or dining areas while eating, but maintain a 6-foot social distance.
  • An individual has a disability that prevents wearing a face covering

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I have to wear a face covering?

Face coverings should be worn by students, faculty, staff, and visitors, in work settings where social distancing measures (at least a 6-foot distance) are difficult to maintain. This includes USU vehicles and equipment when riding with individuals from other households.

What if I cannot wear a face covering or mask?

Some individuals may not be able to use a face covering due to medical conditions, including those that make it hard to breathe with a face covering. If you cannot wear a face covering or mask due to a medical condition and need a work accommodation, please talk to your supervisor or contact the ADA Coordinator in Human Resources. These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, and these individuals must maintain proper physical distancing of 6 feet or more at all times.

If a student is unable to wear a face covering or needs an accommodation, they should contact the USU Disability Resource Center.

Do I have to wear a face covering if I have my own dedicated work area/office?

If you work in an area or office that permits adequate social distancing from others then no face covering is required. However, if you periodically have interactions with others or move to or through areas where others are present (e.g., hallways, restrooms, common areas, break rooms, conference rooms, etc.), you should have a face covering readily available to put on for these circumstances.

What are the requirements for face coverings in USU vehicles?

USU employees must wear face masks in USU vehicles or side by sides when traveling with others. 

Do I have to wear a face mask outside?

Generally, if you work outside or are moving through an area that permits adequate social distancing from others then no face covering is required. However, if you periodically have interactions with others or move to or through areas where others are present or likely to be present (e.g., sidewalks, university vehicles, restrooms, etc.), you should have a face covering readily available to put on for these circumstances.

What kind of face covering should I use?

Face coverings include cloth face masks, scarves, gaiters, or bandanas, which can be secured over the mouth and nose of an individual. Cloth masks can also be ordered through PDP. If your particular role requires personal protection equipment (PPE) or medical-grade protection, USU will provide the appropriate masks and equipment.

What should I do if I see someone at work without a face covering?

All employees should model expected behavior by wearing a face covering or mask when social distancing is difficult to maintain. You are encouraged to maintain a 6-foot distance from those from other households even if you are wearing a face covering.

You may encourage others to wear face coverings or provide face coverings for them if they are in situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain, but please understand that there may be legitimate reasons why someone is unable to wear a face covering. If you have concerns, you may talk with your supervisor. 

Can a supervisor send me home if I refuse to wear a face covering at work?

Employees are expected to wear face coverings at work where social distancing measures (at least a 6-foot distance) are difficult to maintain. If an employee is unable to provide their own face covering, USU will provide one for them. Because not wearing a face covering when expected can pose a health and safety issue, supervisors can treat refusal to wear a mask as a performance/safety issue which can include sending an employee home if they unwilling to comply.

Certain areas such as Dining Services, Gyms/Recreations Centers, Daycare settings, and Healthcare Services are required to wear face coverings or other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in certain circumstances and could be sent home if the employee is unwilling or unable to comply with these safety requirements. If there are circumstances that require consultation with Risk Management or Human Resources, a supervisor has discretion to send an employee home with pay to give them time to determine the best course of action.

I am categorized as a high-risk individual or have someone in my home who is high-risk. Can I require others around me to wear a face covering?

In accordance with Governor Herbert's executive order, face coverings must be worn by everyone in state buildings. USU encourages everyone to wear face coverings whenever social distancing measures (at least a 6-foot distance) are difficult to maintain. High-risk individuals, who have concerns about being exposed in the workplace, should continue to telework if their position permits. You may encourage others to wear face coverings or offer face coverings to them if they are in situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain, but understand there may be reasons why someone is unable to wear a face covering. You may also talk with your supervisor about any observed concerns or contact Human Resources if you have more questions.

The Utah Department of Health provides guidance on how to protect high-risk Individuals