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Face Coverings FAQ

Face Covering Policy

A face covering is a cloth, bandana, or another type of material that covers an individual’s mouth and nose. The CDC lists five criteria for “cloth face coverings,” which should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape.

FDA-approved surgical masks may also be used as a face covering.

Wearing a face covering is about protecting others and our Javelina Community. Those with COVID-19, even those who do not know they have COVID-19, naturally expel droplets contaminated with the virus that causes COVID-19 when breathing, talking, sneezing, coughing, etc. Wearing a face covering in public shows you care enough to protect others. Additionally, limiting virus spread allows the campus to resume some normal operations, including face-to-face classes without the need to return to full remote instruction.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.

Face coverings must be worn on the Texas A&M-Kingsville campus inside all public buildings. Private offices with a single occupant are exempt from the requirement as are individuals who are outside and able to practice proper social distancing.

Individuals working in cubicles will be required to wear proper face coverings.

A public space is any indoor space on the Texas A&M-Kingsville campus/property other than your own, single-occupant private office, residence (including residence hall room or apartment), or personal vehicle. Public spaces include lobbies, restrooms, retail space, dining hall, classrooms, common spaces of residence halls, conference rooms, hallways, stairwells, and break rooms. Face coverings should be worn in any enclosed public space, even if you are by yourself, or any outdoor space where 6 feet of physical distancing is not reliably maintained.

It is the responsibility of the individual to provide their own face covering. However, each unit may keep a small amount of disposable face coverings on hand for visitors.

It is the responsibility of each individual to procure their own face covering. The University Bookstore has a limited number of face coverings available as of June 22, 2020, and is expecting more at a future date.

Expressions and designs on face coverings must abide by the Texas A&M-Kingsville Guidelines for Expression as identified in Section 16.9, IV of the Student Handbook.

1. Disruptive Activity - Obstruction, disruption, or interference with classes, research, administrative functions, or other university activities is not permitted. Likewise, infringement on the rights of others is prohibited and,

5. Symbolic Protest - Displaying a sign, gesturing, wearing symbolic clothing, or otherwise protesting silently is permissible unless it is a disruptive activity or impedes access. In addition, such acts should not block the audience's view or prevent the audience from being able to pay attention.

Your face covering should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. Regular machine washing and drying is sufficient. If part of your face covering, you may need to remove and discard elastic or rubber bands prior to washing and drying, then replace when the fabric portion is clean.

Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your cloth face covering. Wash your hands immediately after removing and handling prior to laundering.

No, you do not need to wear a face covering while eating or drinking. After removing your face covering for eating, place the face covering into a bag to help keep the material clean and away from other people and items in your proximity. As soon as your meal is complete, wash your hands or clean your hands with hand sanitizer and replace your face covering, then clean your hands again.

Any masks worn in a lab setting must be approved by the lab director. You should be maintaining appropriate social distance in your work area, along with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as proper hand hygiene and disinfecting your laboratory work area with sanitizing wipes.

Those engaged in laboratory research activities should wear a lab-director approved face covering in shared spaces, including laboratories.

A face covering does not replace any other recommended or required personal protective equipment (PPE) for your duties or workspace, such as goggles, face shields, or respirators, and it should not interfere with the fit or function of other PPE.

Face coverings must be worn in any public area, even if you are in your own workspace, including a cubicle.

Yes, face coverings must be worn even if you have a plexiglass barrier in your area.

While in your private office area you are not required to wear a face covering when alone. However, when other people join you then all are to wear a face covering.

A private office is usually an office with walls and a door and only one occupant. When others visit a private office, the office occupant and visitors must wear face coverings.

Yes. Scientific understanding of COVID-19 is still evolving, and currently, it is not known if those who have had the disease can be re-infected and become contagious again.

Student requests for exemptions based on a religious concern should contact the Dean of Students.

Some students may not be able to wear a face covering due to a pre-existing medical condition or other disability (e.g., asthma, respiratory disease, inability to remove a face covering without assistance) and should contact Student Health and Wellness.

Disability offices will use their existing process to review exemption requests through an interactive process with students. Sources of information used for determining a disability and/or accommodation may include a student’s self-report, direct observation and interaction with the student, and/or documentation from qualified evaluators or professionals.

For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, opaque face coverings can be a hindrance to communication either due to lack of ability to read lips or difficulties using a sign language interpreter. Faculty are encouraged to work with Disability Resources to determine appropriate accommodations (e.g., wearing a face shield or a transparent face covering to accommodate students relying on lip reading). For classes using sign language interpreters, interpreters will either wear a face shield or provide remote interpreting. Much like for an online class, the interpreter will not be located in the same room as the class but will be using technology to connect to the class and transmit the interpretation to the student.

To keep our community safe, a face covering must be worn in all public areas. If doing so impairs an employee’s ability to do their job based on a disability, the employee should contact Human Resources.

Please contact the faculty or staff member who is supervising the person or space where the infraction occurred (for example, the Building Emergency Manager or Department Head). The department head or building leadership will be in a position to ascertain whether the person has an exemption and, if not, politely direct the person to wear a face covering or vacate the public space.

Yes, unless they have received an exemption (described above) or the area or position has been granted a waiver from the face coverings policy.

If individuals are not wearing a face covering in a public space, the first response should be a collegial reminder and an offer of a clean face covering, if one is available. If the individual refuses to wear a face covering, a supervisor (for students this could be a faculty member or a staff member overseeing the area) may direct the individual to leave the public space and not return until they are prepared to wear a proper face covering and follow safety protocols. Employees who refuse to wear face coverings in public space may be sent home and asked to use accrued leave. If accrued leave is not available, they will be placed on administrative leave without pay.

If the individual refuses to wear a face covering or leave the space, this should be reported to Student Affairs (students) or Human Resources (staff) and dealt with using established disciplinary mechanisms.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus which is spread mainly from person-to-person.

Everyone Should

  • Wash your hands often
    • If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid close contact
    • Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home - at least 6 feet (about 2 arms' length) from other people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Monitor Your Health