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New face mask policies, resources announced for employees and students on non-Medical Center campuses

April 17, 2020
George Eastman statue on River Campus shows Eastman wearing a properly fitted homemade face mask.The University's face-mask policies for all non-Medical Center campuses reflect an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo. (University of Rochester photo / Lori Packer)

In response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring everyone in New York State to wear a mask or face covering when out in public, the University has issued new guidance and resources for employees and students who work or reside on the University’s non-Medical Center campuses.

Effective immediately and until further notice, all students and employees currently working or living on River Campus, the Eastman School of Music campus, South Campus, and other non-Medical Center locations are required to wear a face mask when out in public or when social distancing is not possible, including times of brief interaction between co-workers or friends. Employees working alone in their offices and students who are alone in a room do not need to wear masks, but anytime someone is on campus and within 6 feet of another person, the mask needs to be on.

Either a cloth or surgical mask can be worn. The use of a face covering can potentially slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

There are an estimated 1,000 employees—including student employees—currently on the University’s non-Medical Center campuses and some of these individuals have already been wearing masks for several weeks, either as required by the nature of their work or through personal preference in effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a major health care provider, the Medical Center adheres to its own face mask requirements.

Both employees currently working on campus and students living in the residence halls, as well as students living off-campus, can receive free face masks as needed.

Obtaining a face mask for work

University department heads and managers are now equipped to distribute masks to their employees, including student employees, and employees should obtain them through their manager. If managers need to order masks for their employees, they should contact Auxiliary Operations at

Obtaining a face mask if you are a student

The provision of masks to on-campus and off-campus students will be handled through the following locations; students will need to show their ID to receive their masks and are asked to practice social distancing when approaching one of the distribution sites:

  • Wilson Commons Porch: May 4, 6 & 8, from 4-6 p.m. (Hirst Lounge is rain location)
  • Goler House entrance: May 5, from 1-3 p.m. and May 6 from 3-5 p.m.
  • Eastman:  to request a mask, contact

USING A FACE MASKS. Graphic shows six steps. 1. Wash your hands before putting on your mask and after removing it. 2. Be sure the mask is fitted over your ears and covers your nose, mouth, and chin. 3. Avoid pulling your mask down or tucking it under your chin. The mask must either be fully on or taken off. 4. Gently remove the mask for breaks or meals. After use, inspect the mask to see if it is wet, torn, or soiled. If it is, throw it away. 5. Fold the mask in half so that the outside surfaces are touching and store in a clean bag or container. 6. Carefully cleaned and stored masks can be re-used for up to a week.Face mask dos and don’ts

Face masks are only effective for protection if they are handled, worn, stored and disposed of properly. And experts continue to strongly urge everyone to maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing when possible—even with the use of face masks.

  • Do practice proper hand hygiene. Before and after handling the mask (to put on, adjust, or take off), either wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to reduce cross-contamination risk. The outside of the mask is considered dirty.
  • Do mark the outside of the mask in some way so you can easily identify which side is the outside of the mask, and handle it accordingly. Some individuals mark the outside with their initials in permanent ink.
  • Do keep a paper bag handy for storing the mask every time you take it off; an open plastic Ziploc-style baggie is an alternative if a paper bag is not available. Always store a mask in a clean place. Never store it in a purse or pocket.
  • Don’t touch the outside of your mask while it is on your face.
  • Don’t pull your mask below your chin while you are wearing it. Leaving the mask dangling or improperly fitted to your face creates opportunities for cross-contamination.



Category: University News

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