University community reminded of proper masking protocols

September 27, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As Penn State nears the halfway point in the semester, the University is reminding individuals of proper masking requirements and mask care, as these two critical components help maintain the health and safety of the entire campus community.

Importantly, all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks indoors at all campuses, including in in all classrooms — regardless of size — as well as in meeting rooms, common areas in residence halls, and at any indoor events. At this time, masking outdoors and physical distancing are not required.

Students living in residence halls are not required to wear a mask in their living space, and masks do not need to be worn when actively eating or drinking. Individuals are recommended to eat and drink in designated food service areas, at an individual’s desk or outdoors.

All individuals must also wear a face mask while using public transportation, per CDC regulations, and in some additional settings such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects.

Individuals may remind others of proper masking protocols while in campus buildings, and, most importantly, all individuals should remain respectful and comply with masking when asked. More information on masking protocols is available on Penn State's official COVID-19 information website.

Mask types and care

Multi-layer cloth masks or procedure masks are the preferred type of face covering, and all face coverings must cover the nose and chin. Masks should fit snugly around the mouth and nose and be dry — not damp.

Importantly, masks with valves are not acceptable. There is evidence that single-layer face coverings, such as neck gaiters, are less effective in stopping respiratory droplets than multi-layer face coverings.

Reusable cloth masks should be cleaned before their first use and after every use to promote effective mitigation against virus transmission. Best practices for mask cleanliness include washing the mask in hot water with regular detergent and allowing the mask to dry thoroughly on a hot setting.

It is advised that individuals wash or sanitize their hands before putting on a mask and immediately after its removal. It is also suggested that individuals remove their mask from behind rather than from the front.

More information about effectively wearing masks is available from Penn State Environmental Health and Safety.

Last Updated September 27, 2021