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Face Mask Guidelines

Face masks required on University campuses

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Updated May 4, 2022

University leaders reinstated the indoor face mask requirement on most of the University’s campuses and properties on April 15. At that time, we indicated that we would re-evaluate this requirement in early May, prior to Commencement.

Campus health officials believe indoor masking has reduced the number of COVID infections among students in recent days. Based on the effectiveness of the mask requirement in returning COVID cases to more manageable levels, as well as the still relatively high rate of COVID infections in the greater Rochester community and in New York State—the current face mask policy will remain in place for now, including at indoor Commencement ceremonies and events.

This requirement applies to all students, faculty, staff, visitors, and guests—including those who are fully vaccinated and boosted. Outdoor Commencement events and activities, including tented events and the all-University Commencement ceremony in Fauver Stadium at the Brian F. Prince Athletic Complex on May 13, are mask-optional; anyone who wishes to wear a mask is welcome to do so.

The continuation of the indoor masking requirement applies to all Medical Center “tan” locations —including the School of Nursing, School of Medicine and Dentistry, and administrative areas such as Corporate Woods and RTP. There is no change to masking requirements in patient care areas, which continue to require masking until further notice. A full description of Medical Center masking requirements, is available on the URMC Intranet, (University network access required).

As part of the current policy:

  • Acceptable face coverings are disposable, non-cloth masks: surgical or KN95. Free disposable face masks continue to be available on campus.
  • Fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff who are alone and not in a public or shared space may unmask. This does not apply to clinical areas that require masking per New York State regulations.
  • Any in-person meetings or group activities in conference rooms or other indoor spaces should be conducted with everyone being masked—regardless of vaccination status.
  • In the classroom, fully vaccinated instructors who can maintain greater than 6 feet distance from all class participants can unmask while instructing; class attendees must remain masked and the instructor should re-mask when class instruction is complete.
  • When eating in Rochester Dining locations or other public or shared indoor spaces on campus, everyone should stay masked when not eating.
  • In on-campus student living spaces, students may be unmasked in their room with their roommate(s) or “family unit.” All other times, students should be masked.
  • Face masks are required for everyone on the University shuttles.
  • For performances and varsity sporting events, performers and athletes may be unmasked, but audiences/spectators must mask when indoors. Sponsored University events held off campus should adhere to local venue policies.
  • Face masks are optional at Memorial Art Gallery.
  • Family members assisting students in moving out of their campus residence will need to be masked.

Thanks to everyone for your continued cooperation. We’re continuing to monitor the COVID cases on campus and in the community, and we’ll continue to adjust COVID measures as warranted.

Frequently asked questions: Face masks

Yes, the policy applies to everyone—students, faculty, staff, visitors, and others—including those who are fully vaccinated and boosted, and those who have received vaccine exemptions. Everyone will be required to wear a face mask indoors.

Face masks must be worn indoors on all University campuses and properties as well as on University shuttles and buses until further notice. Additionally, all Medical Center “tan” locations —including the School of Nursing, School of Medicine and Dentistry, and administrative areas such as Corporate Woods and RTP—are included. There is no change to masking requirements in patient care areas, as they have and will continue to require masking until further notice. (To access the URMC Intranet you must be on the University network.)

Performers and athletes may be unmasked, but audiences and spectators must mask when indoors. Sponsored University events held off campus should adhere to local venue policies.

In the classroom, fully vaccinated instructors who can maintain greater than 6 feet distance from all class participants can unmask while instructing; class attendees must remain masked and the instructor should re-mask when class instruction is complete.

Any in-person meetings or group activities in conference rooms or other indoor spaces should be conducted with everyone being masked—regardless of vaccination status.

When eating in Rochester Dining locations or other public or shared indoor spaces on campus, everyone should stay masked when not eating.

Fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff who are alone and not in a public or shared space may unmask. This does not apply to clinical areas that require masking per New York State regulations.

In on-campus student living spaces, students may be unmasked in their room with their roommate(s) or “family unit.” All other times, students should be masked.

Acceptable face coverings are disposable, non-cloth masks: surgical or KN95. The University is making disposable surgical face masks available throughout many campus locations.

Face mask availability on campuses

The University is making disposable surgical face masks available throughout many campus locations.

For students

Surgical face masks can be picked up at the Common Connection at Wilson Commons (please check hours online), as well as at the Officer’s Desk in Lowry Hall at the Eastman School.

For faculty and staff (non-URMC)

Surgical masks have been provided to every (non-URMC) staff and faculty member through their department. If a department requires an additional supply of masks, they can be ordered through their previously assigned PPE supply nodes; for Arts, Sciences & Engineering departments, please email Greg Meyer at gmeyer@UR.Rochester.edu if unsure of the PPE supply node location. All others may use the Facilities online PPE form to order additional masks.

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