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Face Mask Requirements

Guidance for the University community and visitors

Updated August 16, 2021

On this page, you’ll find answers to common questions regarding updated indoor face-masking requirements for faculty, staff, students, and visitors. The University announced the updated requirements in a message on August 9. Thank you for helping keep our community safe.

Effective August 10 until further notice, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors—including those who are fully vaccinated—must wear a face mask while indoors on any of the University’s campuses and properties. For more details, read the email update from University leaders sent on August 9, 2021.

Either a disposable mask, or a reusable cloth face mask is acceptable as long as it snuggly covers the nose and mouth. Bandanas, face shields, and gaiters are not allowed without a face mask.

While the requirement to mask indoors is not permanent, it will be in place indefinitely. The University’s Coronavirus University Restart Team (CURT) and senior leadership will continue to respond appropriately to the still-evolving safety needs of the pandemic and will notify students, faculty, and staff accordingly.

Vaccinations provide extra protection against being infected with COVID and do a remarkable job of protecting vaccinated people from COVID-related hospitalization and death. However, the Delta variant presents new challenges in preventing rising COVID cases within the University community. For the sake of the health of the entire University community—especially at a time when students, faculty, and staff will return in greater numbers—the best decision is to require everyone to wear a face mask indoors on campus, until further notice.

Yes, disposable face masks will be available at multiple locations around University campuses.

Yes. However, fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff who are alone and not in a public or shared space may unmask (including being alone in an office), but those who still wish to wear a face mask for additional protection are encouraged to do so.

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, a fully vaccinated instructor may remove their face mask while instructing if they can maintain greater than 6 feet of distance from others in the classroom; students should remain masked.

When eating in Rochester Dining locations or other public or shared spaces on campus, everyone should remain masked up to the point of starting a snack or meal, remove their face mask to eat, and then re-mask when done.

In on-campus student living spaces, students may be unmasked in their room with their roommate(s) or family unit. On-campus “family units” have maximums: 1 person in a single room; 2 people in a double room; 1, 2, 3 or 4 people in an apartment; or 4 or 6 people in a suite. Family units only apply to inside residences. All other times, students should be masked.

Updated 8/12
Of particular note, if a student has a roommate or suitemate who is not vaccinated due to a religious or medical exemption, the roommates will need to decide if the unvaccinated student must be masked when in a shared residential space. If the unvaccinated student doesn’t comply, roommates should reach out to Residential Life. Otherwise, all unvaccinated and vaccinated students must wear a mask except when eating or in their own individual room.

More information will be announced shortly to address athletics.

Updated 8/16
Performance space may operate at full capacity, however all unvaccinated singers and wind instrument players need to maintain 6 feet of separation along with wearing a mask. All others performers must wear a mask, but distancing rules need not be applied.

Eastman students will receive detailed information about music-making protocols, including practice room and ensemble procedures, on Eastman’s COVID-19 policies page.

Yes, anyone who enters a University building for any amount of time needs to wear a face mask.

The University shuttles have required passengers to be masked throughout the pandemic, and this continues. Masks should also be worn in campus vans and vehicles that transport students or employees as a group.

No. At this point, the University is not requiring face masks outdoors on our campuses. But anyone who is not fully vaccinated should wear a face mask when outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.

Many employees across the University are transitioning back to on-site work and can continue to do so. If an employee has concerns about returning to campus, their manager is the best person to speak with. Faculty and staff can additionally contact the HR business partner assigned to their department.

No. The University is not currently requiring social distancing, although we encourage everyone to take additional personal safety measures they feel most comfortable with.

In advance of welcoming visitors on any University campus, you should make them aware of the University’s requirement to wear a face mask indoors.

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