Face Coverings

Based on the current health conditions and aligned with CDC guidance as well as our commitment to deliver in-person learning at the University of Arizona, we will require face masks be worn:

  • In all indoor spaces where it is not possible to adequately and continuously maintain social distance.
  • Any building/facility that is operated by or affiliated with the University where patients or human research subjects participating in clinical research are seen in person.
  • In locations where personal protective equipment (including masks) has always been required to maintain safety protocols for situations with high hazards, such as areas where regulated chemicals are used or stored and other laboratory settings.
  • Inside a Cat Tran shuttle or any other public transportation provided by the University.

These requirements apply to all faculty, staff, students, designated campus colleagues and visitors to the University of Arizona campuses or locations.

Please review the current CDC guidance on the use of masks

Updated August 12, 2021

Face Coverings:

  • Should 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

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

See Face Coverings and Accessibility Considerations


Face Covering FAQ

No. Based on the current health conditions and aligned with CDC guidance, as well as our commitment to deliver in-person learning at the University of Arizona, we will require face masks be worn:

  • In all indoor spaces where it is not possible to adequately and continuously maintain social distance.
  • Any building/facility that is operated by or affiliated with the University where patients or human research subjects participating in clinical research are seen in person.
  • In locations where personal protective equipment (including masks) has always been required to maintain safety protocols for situations with high hazards, such as areas where regulated chemicals are used or stored and other laboratory settings.
  • Inside a Cat Tran shuttle or any other public transportation provided by the University.

Yes. The applicable statute (ARS 15-1650.05) and the Governor’s Executive Order from June 15, 2021, both prohibit mask mandates that are based on vaccination status or create different requirements based on vaccination status.  Accordingly, we are requiring face masks to be worn by everyone (students, employees and visitors), regardless of vaccination status, in indoor spaces where it is not possible to adequately and continuously maintain social distance. 

Many campus locations will not require face coverings. For example, face coverings will not be required in low density hallways, in offices where social distancing is possible or where there is only a single occupant, in the Student Union, and in many other rooms that do not have high density seating.

No – please work with your supervisor and building manager.

No. The University has evaluated all teaching spaces and made decisions based on the size and usual/expected occupancy in each space. Instructors are expected to adhere to the university-posted signage for each space.

Yes. Based on availability, Facilities Management will replenish a stock of extra face coverings in each classroom and lab daily. However, if demand is high, stocks may be low. The University of Arizona provides two masks at no cost to students, staff and faculty who will be on Campus this fall. University-issued masks are available at the BookStores locations.

Our COVID-19 mitigation measures may change, therefore, we recommend that instructors use/add this language to the syllabus: “As we enter the Fall semester, the health and wellbeing of everyone in this class is the highest priority. Accordingly, we are all required to follow the university guidelines on COVID-19 mitigation. Please visit covid19.arizona.edu for the latest guidance.”

Download the Suggested syllabus language for the Fall 2021 class formats developed by the Teaching & Learning Re-Entry Taskforce. The link can be found on the Teaching Models site (Note that this link will download a Word document to your computer – please look for it in your Downloads folder.)

Please:

  • Seek to provide them with a disposable mask – Based on availability, extra disposable masks will be stored in each classroom setting, and at the reception areas in each building.
  • Send them to the bookstore to collect their free re-usable masks.
  • As a final resort, ask them to return to their room/dorm/house to get their masks.

Please see the directions and proposed script for managing this possible situation on the Fall 2021 Classroom Management Resources page.

Important: If a student seeks to disrupt your class, please file a report to the Dean of Students about the incident on the same day, so that the issue can be quickly addressed.

If a student is concerned about wearing a face covering on the basis of their disability or medical condition, please ask the student to contact the DRC at DRC-info@arizona.edu or call 520-621-3268 to discuss a potential accommodation. Note that there are no exceptions to wearing a mask in those spaces where it is required, and that DRC will help the student to find a mask that works for them, or will help them to find an alternative to being present in those spaces.

Yes, instructors can be heard with masks; although other visual communication cues may be diminished. In large central classrooms equipped with microphones, the microphones have been tested with masks and found to work well. Instructors can contact Classroom Technologies Services (520-621-3852) to review the central classrooms, their setup, and the available technology.

Yes. All UArizona sponsored events, gatherings, and instructional activities must adhere to the University’s face covering guidance, even if they are being held at non-UArizona locations.   

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.

Face coverings are required inside a Cat Tran shuttle or any other public transportation provided by the University.

Wearing a face covering for a long period may be uncomfortable for some. If you want to take a break from your face covering, we recommend moving to an outdoor location where you can physically distance from other people, before you remove your mask. 

When exercising outdoors, you may remove your face covering. However, you should wear your face covering if at least 6 feet of separation cannot be continuously maintained. 

Plastic face shields are not the best option to stop spread of the coronavirus and are not a substitute for 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. 

Please also see Face Coverings and Accessibility Considerations

Mesh face coverings, or face coverings with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or any kind of vent, are not protective, as they allow droplets and germs to be released from the face covering. Wearing a face covering with openings is like wearing nothing at all. We recommend against it.

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