Face Masks

In accordance with the State of Washington Safe Start Guidelines, most students will be required to wear a face mask, except when in your residence-hall room/apartment, outside (with physical distancing of six feet or more), or alone in an office. (Exceptions include individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who communicate with someone who relies on language cues such as facial markers and expressions and mouth movements as part of communication.) Recent research has shown that the appropriate use of certain face masks significantly minimizes the transmission of droplets to others near you. 

It’s possible to spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick, so a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing. 

Preferred face masks:

  • Cloth masks with a minimum of two layers of material (no valves)
  • Disposable medical masks (no valves)

Acceptable face masks:

  • Neck gaiters and balaclavas (minimum of two layers of material)

Unacceptable face masks / coverings:

  • Cloth masks with only one layer of material
  • Bandanas and scarves
  • Knitted masks
  • Any mask with valves
  • Face shields (unless a face mask is worn with the shield)

You may wear a disposable mask or cloth face mask. Disposable masks may only be worn once and then must be placed in the trash. Cloth masks must only be worn for one day at a time, and must be properly laundered before reuse. PLU will provide one cloth face mask per individual student. (We encourage you to bring two or more face masks with you as part of your COVID-19 student kit. More details will be provided in another communication.) You are responsible for maintaining and laundering your face masks and keeping them with you as you move about on campus. Having a week’s supply of cloth face masks can help reduce the need for daily laundering.

Use and Care of Face Coverings

Tips for putting on and wearing the face mask:

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face mask.
  • Ensure the face mask fits over the nose and under the chin.
  • Situate the face mask properly, with nose wire snug against the nose (where applicable).
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck, or loop them around the ears.
  • Throughout the process, avoid touching the front of the face mask.

Taking off the face mask

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face mask.
  • When taking off the face mask, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps.
  • If you plan to reuse the mask during your shift, place it in a bag without touching the front surface of the mask. 
  • Wash hands immediately after removing and prior to replacing a previously used mask.

Care, storage, and laundering of face masks

  • Keep face masks stored in a dedicated, clean paper or plastic bag when not in use. Be sure to have a bag on hand if you expect to have to remove and replace your mask (for meals, for example).
  • Cloth face masks may not be used more than one day at a time, and must be washed after use. Cloth face masks should be properly laundered with regular clothing detergent before first use, and after each shift. Cloth face masks should be replaced immediately if soiled, damaged (e.g., ripped or punctured), or visibly contaminated.
  • Disposable masks must not be used for more than one use, and should be placed in the trash at the end of the day, or immediately if they are soiled, damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured material), or visibly contaminated.
  • Consider laundering cloth face masks by hand, with soap and water, and hanging to dry. This will help to make a fresh mask available on a daily basis.