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Mask guidelines

My mask protects you.
Your mask protects me

cloth masks

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and PA Department of Health advise individuals to wear cloth face coverings when in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing transmission from people who do not realize they have contracted the virus. 

Remember the saying: “My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.” 

Governor Wolf and the Secretary of PADOH issued an order effective April 19, 2020 mandating the wearing of face masks by employees in the work place:  PADOH Order  This Order requires in part that employers: “provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement to wear masks while on the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink...”


• Face masks must be worn in shared work areas including hallways, kitchenettes/ breakrooms, elevators, bathrooms, research and teaching labs, classrooms, and other open spaces where employees interact.

• Face masks must be worn by employees who work in close contact (less than less than 6 feet) with one another individual. That includes, but is not limited to, employees performing activities such as assembly, testing, etc.  Wash hands thoroughly throughout the day, but especially before and after any contact with co-workers.  Face shields and safety glasses may be worn to decrease the likelihood of touching your eyes but is not required.

• Employees in conference and meeting rooms must wear a mask. Meetings should be restricted to less than 10 people.

• Face masks are not required when working alone in offices/cubicles unless someone else enters the area

• Face masks are not required when employees are eating or drinking, but must continue practicing social distancing and handwashing hygiene

• It is up to each of us to comply with these requirements to protect our co-workers.

• Wearing of face masks does not negate the need to maintain social distancing and practice good hand hygiene.

Cloth face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, cover the nose and mouth.  They should include multiple layers of fabric and allow for breathing without restriction.  Cloth face masks should be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.  The Eberly College of Science will provide cloth face masks for employees, but employees are welcome to bring their own to use. The Eberly College of Science will also make disposable masks available as needed.

Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.  Each employee is responsible for washing their own face covering.  A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering. Wash it in the washing machine with hot water and completely dry on medium or high heat.

For more information on cloth masks, see the Penn State EHS COVID-19 Universal Masking Cloth Mask Guidance. These requirements may be updated if additional guidance is provided by Penn State, PADOH or CDC.