Face Coverings

Employees, students, and visitors must use face coverings in all UArizona locations, both indoors and outdoors, in accordance with UArizona’s Administrative Directive.  Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, which should remain the primary means of preventing transmission.

Face coverings, when worn by the majority of people in a community, can help prevent the transmission of viral particles into the air and onto common surfaces, thereby reducing potential exposures and rates of transmission in the community.

Face Covering Usage

CLASSROOMS – You are required to wear a face covering in all classrooms and other group instructional settings.

INDOORS – You are required to wear a face covering in all University Buildings, unless you are alone in a single occupancy office.

OUTDOORS – You are required to wear a face covering while in any University of Arizona outdoor space where continuous physical distancing of at least 6 feet is difficult or impossible to maintain.

Face coverings:

  • Must cover the nose, mouth, and chin of the wearer
  • Can be cloth masks, homemade or purchased, or disposable surgical masks.
  • Are meant to protect the community from you; many cases of COVID-19 are spread by people who may not even realize they are sick (asymptomatic).
  • Are not a substitute for physical distancing, which should remain the primary means of preventing transmission.
  • Are NOT Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 maskswhich are designed to protect you from hazards in your environment and are used in health care settings.
  • See also CDC information on face coverings


Los Empleados, Estudiantes y Visitantes Deben Usar Cubiertas De Rostro, Como Se Indica A Continuación:

EN EL INTERIOR DE LOS EDIFICIOS – Usted tiene la obligación de usar una cubierta de rostro en todos los edificios de la Universidad de Arizona (incluyendo pasillos, espacios públicos, baños, salones de clase y áreas comunes, a excepción de aquellas oficinas privadas, lugares de trabajo y áreas de reuniones formales donde se pueda mantener una distancia física de al menos seis pies de forma continua.  

ESPACIOS EXTERIORES – Usted tiene la obligación de usar una cubierta de rostro mientras esté en los espacios exteriores de la Universidad de Arizona, donde mantener la distancia física de al menos seis pies de forma continua sea difícil o imposible.


Mask Distribution

The University of Arizona will provide two face coverings at no cost to students, staff, and faculty that will be on campus, additionally students will also receive a thermometer.

See Mask Distribution Times & Locations


Accessibility & Accommodations

If you are concerned about your ability to comply with this directive due to a medical condition or for religious reasons, you should contact your supervisor to discuss your concerns and, if necessary, your supervisor may refer you to other campus resources, including but not limited to, the Disability Resource Center (DRC) or Human Resources (HR). You may also contact the DRC or HR directly if you would prefer not to address the issue with your supervisor. Potential accommodations may include, but are not limited to, remote work arrangements.

In applying and enforcing this directive, the University follows all applicable laws and University policies prohibiting harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Upon request, the University will evaluate the basis and feasibility of potential accommodations and will provide reasonable accommodations as required by law to ensure equal access to employment, educational opportunities, programs, services, and activities.

Face Covering FAQ

Face coverings are more about protecting others in the community than protecting yourself. People can have COVID-19 and spread it to others without having any symptoms. Face coverings catch small respiratory droplets that enter the air when you breathe, speak, sing, cough, and sneeze, and reduce the chance of infecting other people. There is also limited evidence that when face coverings are worn properly, they may reduce your risk of being infected with the coronavirus. Face coverings are the right choice for members of our community – we need to preserve respirators like N95 masks for health care workers, researchers studying the coronavirus, and other high-risk workers. Face coverings should not be worn by children less than 2 years old and individuals who may have serious underlying respiratory conditions.

Face coverings should fit snugly and comfortably to your face, with no large gaps around the top or sides, and must cover the nose, mouth, and chin at all times. Don’t lower your mask to breathe through your nose or to speak to someone - you may be spreading potentially infectious respiratory droplets into the air around you. You should avoid touching your face covering while wearing it, but when you do wash your hands before and after.

Face coverings can be homemade or purchased, or even disposable surgical masks. The best material for homemade cloth face coverings is tightly woven cotton, such as tea towel or t-shirt material. Don’t forget to wash your face covering if it gets dirty using soap and water and wash it at least daily even if it looks clean.

Respirators protect you from other people, while face coverings protect other people from you. Respirators require all wearers to go through an Occupational Health and Safety Administration process to ensure they are healthy enough to wear a respirator, and should be reserved only for healthcare workers, coronavirus researchers, and other high-risk workers. Face coverings help community members protect one another from their own germs; when used by most people, respirators should not be needed in community settings.

Face coverings and respirators with exhalation valves allow your germs to escape into the air around you, meaning you can expose others around you. Since face coverings are more about protecting others than protecting yourself, wearing a face covering with exhalation valves is like wearing nothing at all. Devices with exhalation valves should be avoided.

You may remove your face covering when eating or drinking on University Property, provided you maintain continuous physical distancing of at least 6 feet.

If there is more than one person in a University vehicle, including the CatTran, everyone must wear a face covering at all times.

Wearing a face covering for a long period may be uncomfortable for some. If you need to take a break from your face covering, please move to an outdoor location where you can physically distance from other people (not less than 6 feet separation), before you remove your mask. Put your face covering on again immediately if you cannot maintain at least 6 feet physical distancing.

When exercising outdoors, as long as continuous physical distancing of at least 6 feet is maintained, you may remove your face covering.

Plastic face shields are not the best option to stop spread of the coronavirus and are not a substitute for face coverings, and using a face shield alone does not satisfy the UArizona Administrative Directive on face coverings. The CDC does not recommend clear plastic face shields as substitutes for cloth face coverings because they are not as affective at preventing your respiratory droplets from spreading into the air around you. However, using layered protections, like wearing a face covering and a face shield together, provides an even greater level of protection.

If any individual believes their disability or medical condition precludes them from wearing any type of face covering, we encourage them to contact the Disability Resource Center to discuss a potential accommodation. DRC staff will explore potential face covering alternatives and other potential arrangements. Should an accommodation be put in place for a student, DRC will confirm the accommodation with the relevant instructors.

Mesh face coverings, or face coverings with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or any kind of vent, are not acceptable. They allow droplets and germs to be released from the face covering, meaning you can expose others around you. Wearing a face covering with openings is like wearing nothing at all and should be avoided.

Local City & County

Local guidelines on face coverings, gathering size limits and what's open to the public.

City of Tucson Pima County

Federal & State

Additional resources you may find helpful to keep you informed.

CDC Arizona Department of Health Services