Mandated face coverings help limit the spread of COVID-19
“We’re all in this together.”
It’s a common phrase that has been echoed far and wide by institutions of higher education over the past several months.
Clemson University is no exception.
As students, faculty and staff prepare to kick off the Fall semester in an online environment this week, preparations to properly mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to the Clemson community have been months in the making.
With a number of individuals returning to the local community this month, the importance of the “Healthy Clemson: United as Tigers” campaign has never been greater. The entire Clemson Family has assumed a critical role in the University’s quest to return to on-campus and in-person activities.
Arguably the most important action an individual member of the Clemson Family can take is to properly wear a face covering. Masks have proven to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus, which led University leaders to mandate the wearing of face coverings statewide in the following situations:
- While in University buildings, including housing and dining facilities. Note: Cloth face coverings may be removed while alone in a private space, such as an office, classroom or campus residence. However, face coverings must be worn as others enter the space.
- During all University programs held in non-University buildings.
- In outdoor spaces on campus where appropriate physical distancing cannot be guaranteed.
- While using University transportation/mass transit and in University-owned vehicles.
Employees who have already returned to work as approved by their supervisor should be adhering to all University regulations on face coverings. Repeated incidents of non-compliance will result in referrals to the Office of Community and Ethical Standards (students), Office of Human Resources (employees) and Procurement Services (contractors).
While a statewide mandate on face coverings has not been enacted, Gov. Henry McMaster recently encouraged local governments to pass ordinances in public-access spaces. In close proximity to main campus, the City of Clemson and Town of Central have already done this and require the use of face coverings in public buildings and in public spaces where physical distancing cannot be guaranteed.
In very limited circumstances, face shields may be used as a safe alternative to face coverings. In addition to specialized jobs (such as medical care providers or emergency responders), possible exclusions where the use of a face shield may replace the use of a face mask include the following:
- Those seeking to communicate with the deaf or hard of hearing and for which the mouth needs to be visible. If available, a cloth face covering with a clear panel should be worn while communicating in this manner.
- Faculty and instructors who can maintain no fewer than six feet of physical distancing. Before and after instruction, the face shield must be replaced by a cloth face covering. Professors working in close proximity to podiums, desks or other work surfaces should disinfect those areas after the class.
- Those with documented disabilities who cannot wear cloth face coverings may request accommodations. Contact Student Accessibility Services (students) and the Office of Access & Equity (employees).
Faculty and those who have been approved to wear a face shield will be provided with a face shield to ensure quality. Distribution to all faculty will occur prior to the start of in-person instruction on Sept. 21. More information will be provided soon.
Not sure how to properly wear your face covering? No problem, click here to view the guidance provided by Clemson Occupational and Environmental Safety on what constitutes an acceptable cloth face covering, important reminders and more tips for effectiveness.
By working together, these preventive measures offer the greatest possible protection against COVID-19 exposure and reaffirm Clemson’s commitment to the health and safety of all members of the University community.