Face Covering 101: Things to Remember

by University Marketing and Communications

During the COVID-19 pandemic, much has been written, discussed, and even argued about the use of face coverings. Last month, Michigan Tech entered into Step Two of our Return to Campus Plan. It is important to remember that the requirements for wearing face coverings outlined in Step One — “Individuals must wear their face covering at all times indoors with the only exception being a fixed wall room with a closed door” — are still in effect for Step Two.

“Employees and students who are not able to medically tolerate a face covering should reach out for an appropriate accommodation,” said Sarah Schulte, general counsel and secretary to the Board of Trustees. Schulte said employees should contact the ADA Coordinator, while students should contact Student Disability Services.

Schulte said face shields are not considered a cloth face covering. “If you believe you need to wear a face shield rather than a face covering, reach out to the appropriate disability coordinator,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that “the use of cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Wearing a cloth face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.” In other words, a face covering may not protect you, but it may keep you from spreading the virus to others.

Schulte notes that N95 respirators or other face coverings with exhalation valves do not meet Michigan Tech’s requirements because they do not adequately protect others. However, N95 respirators without exhalation valves do satisfy Michigan Tech requirements. 

According to the CDC, when worn correctly, a face covering should cover your nose and mouth and be secured under your chin. Try to fit it snugly against the side of your face. It is important to wash  your hands before putting on your face covering, and it should be washed after each use.

More information on the use of face coverings can be found on the CDC website. Michigan Tech’s guidelines on the use of face coverings can be found online.