Covid Safety Resources

Mask Update - January 14, 2022

Due to the new variant of covid-19 called Omicron that it is highly transmissible, there are changes to the mask policy for protection of you and our community. At this time, gaiters and cloth face coverings worn alone are no longer approved for use on campus. Well-fitting high-quality masks approved to be worn on campus are the following:

  • Surgical Masks (disposable)
  • KN95 Masks (disposable)
  • KF94 Masks (disposable)
  • Non-surgical (disposable) along with a cloth mask

 

Note 1: masks with exhalation valves are not permitted

Note 2: N95s will not be provided to anyone at the College unless approved by EHS and in the Respiratory Protection Program.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Does this apply to everyone?

Yes, everyone must wear a mask when inside campus buildings unless they obtain a medical exemption.   Individuals are not required to wear masks while alone in a closed private office or room or while actively eating or drinking in approved designated break areas while maintaining distancing from others. When outdoors, the College strongly recommends wearing masks in crowded settings when distancing from others cannot be maintained. 

 

Can everyone on campus get a mask from the College?

The intent is to provide masks to union employees and those front-facing with students on a frequent basis.  Our supply is limited so those who do not interact regularly with students or the public are encouraged to supply their own masks.  Surgical facemasks will be available at the testing sites for students who have not yet been able to obtain their own.   

 

Where do I get a mask?

If you are approved to get a mask from the College, ask your manager to arrange ordering them by putting in a Service Request on the facilities website.

 

What is considered a well-fitting mask?

  • Fits snugly against the sides of your face and does not have gaps especially around the nose and chin.
  • Is equipped with a nose wire to minimize gaps around the nose bridge.
  • Completely covers the nose and mouth.

 

What if the mask is uncomfortable or does not fit?

There might be other options available to you.  Contact Dawn Toon or Suzanne Howard in the EHS Office for an evaluation. 

 

What about contractors and visitors to the College?

They must abide by the mask policy.

 

I am vaccinated or I had Covid-19, do I still need to wear a mask?

Yes, the policy on masks applies.

 

How do I take care of my mask for work?

When not in use, the mask should be kept in a breathable container (like a paper bag) to keep it clean.  Also keep out of contaminated areas, away from dust, direct sunlight and damaging chemicals.  Note that masks have expiration dates so check the package.  They should also not be kept in hot or humid environments (ie. Over 80 deg F or greater than 80% humidity).

 

How often should I change my mask?

Whenever it becomes damaged, soiled or wet.  Some suggest having one mask for each day of the week and rotate.  CDC instructed health care workers to store them for a minimum of five days between uses; this provided time for some pathogens on the mask to "die off" while in the bag. Other suggestions say 8 hours of wear but it depends on your job. For instance, a custodian might want to change their mask daily while an admin, working on campus FT in an office who is not student facing all day, could use five masks over one month rotating them M-F. 

 

Other considerations for when to change your mask:

  • If it is loose and or no longer covers the nose and mouth properly
  • The ties or straps are stretched out or damaged
  • When the fabric is in poor shape or has holes or tears

 

Masks can be disposed of in the regular trash. 

 

How do I know the masks that are ordered are considered high quality?

The Purchasing Department orders our supplies and uses vetted and reputable companies. The EHS Office reviews all masks to ensure they are high quality. 

  1. The mask list from the CDC is helpful but is not all inclusive. Suggest selecting single use masks on this list at this time.  
  2. KN95s, KF94s or 3-ply surgical masks which are widely available. Will evaluate the specific brands and manufacturers from our suppliers.
  3. Should not be on this list of counterfeit masks.

 

Other Helpful Tips:

  • Carry additional fresh masks with you.
  • Refer to manufacturer or public health recommendations. Check the CDC website
  • Avoid using makeup when wearing a mask, it might transfer onto the mask and reduce its effectiveness.
  • To prevent fogging of eyeglass, make sure the flexible strip is secured tightly over the bridge of your nose. Clean your lenses with anti-fog eyeglass spray cleaner.
  • When putting on your mask wash your hands using soap and water. If unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Expand your mask fully so it completely covers your nose, mouth and chin, there should be no gaps between your face and the mask. You may need to pull the bottom edge fully under your chin.
  • If your mask has a bendable nose strip, use both hands to press it to your nose to remove gaps.
  • Wash your hands again using soap and water if available or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when taking off your mask to keep it clean.

Some helpful resources:

Center for Disease Control

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

 

John Hopkins

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-how-to-care-for-your-face-mask

 

CCOHS – Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety

https://www.ccohs.ca/covid19/facts-on-masks/