Rally Together

This guidance was developed to comply with Governor Scott’s Be Smart Stay Safe Executive Order, and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Vermont Department of Health (VDH), and the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA). This guidance will be amended as necessary to reflect the latest health and safety state and federal recommendations.



This guidance applies to anyone using UVM facilities and event spaces. This includes UVM employees, students, vendors, contractors, volunteers, clients, customers, and anyone visiting UVM buildings for conferences, meetings, and events. This guidance also applies to UVM owned or leased buildings and spaces, including off-campus sites and retail locations.

Vermont Face Coverings Mandate

Effective August 1, 2020, in Vermont, you are required to wear a face covering over your nose and mouth any time you are in a public space, indoors or outdoors, where it is not possible to keep a 6-foot distance from others who are not part of your household.

In accordance with the Vermont Face Covering Mandate, face coverings are to be worn at UVM whenever you are in the presence of other people or in a public setting.  Your face covering protects you and those around you from COVID-19.  

Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and other COVID-19 prevention methods.  Face coverings are not respirators and should not be worn for jobs that require respiratory protection.

Guidance for Face Coverings at UVM

Face coverings are required at UVM:

  • Inside UVM buildings and outside around UVM campus where distance from others cannot be maintained (e.g. building common areas, hallways, stairways, elevators, classrooms, restrooms, entrances, lobbies, campus walkways and sidewalks);
  • Inside UVM residence halls, except if you are inside your assigned room or suite;
  • When riding in a UVM vehicle with another person; 
  • When riding a UVM campus shuttle bus; or
  • Face coverings are required during strenuous activities, indoors and outdoors, when in the presence of others*. In the event that a facial covering is temporarily removed during or immediately after strenuous activities, the physical distance requirement must be increased to 10 feet for the duration of the removal.
  • *Varsity athletes are allowed to follow the guidance described in Athletic Operations plans.

Face coverings are not required if:

  • You are working inside a private office or single-occupancy workspace to which you can close the door;
  • You are working alone in a space to which you have full control over access;
  • You are inside your assigned room or suite in your residence hall (see Residence Hall Policies) or brushing your teeth or showering in your residence hall bathroom;
  • You are performing a job that does not involve interaction with others and you can remain at least 6 feet away from people at all times; indoors and outdoors;
  • You are taking a break to eat or drink and can maintain a 6-foot distance from other people - in most on-campus situations this will require you to be stationary and seated.  You must wear a face covering when you are finished eating/drinking;
  • You are working at an area where you are protected by a Plexiglas “sneeze guard” barrier or similar control device that has been approved in your resumption of on-campus operations plan, and you are working apart from other employees, and you do not interact with customers outside this work station; or
  • You are showering.


Consistent with CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidelines, UVM recognizes there are some situations when an individual should not wear a cloth or disposable face covering.  Exemptions to this guidance include:

  • Children under the age of 2;
  • An individual who is unable to remove the face covering without assistance;
  • Anyone experiencing trouble breathing or who is unconscious; or
  • Individuals who are working in environments where face coverings may cause additional safety concerns, for example, the face covering increases the risk of heat-related illness, may get caught in machinery, or may get wet and increase breathing resistance.


Supervisors are responsible for enforcing these guidelines within their individual units and/or departments. Any UVM student, faculty, or staff member may report non-compliance to the UVM COVID-19 Information and Service Center at UVM.Strong@uvm.edu or (802)656-1010.

General Guidance

How to Select A Face Covering

In order to comply with this guidance, your face covering must meet or exceed the CDC Face Coverings Guidance:

  • Completely cover your nose and mouth;
  • Fit snugly and comfortably around your face leaving no gaps;
  • Allow you to breathe normally without restriction;
  • Not have any valves that allow exhaled air through the face covering without being filtered; and
  • Be constructed of at least 2 layers of cloth and/or filtering material that is tightly woven and does not let light pass through when held up to a light source.

UVM has provided students and employees with reusable cloth face coverings that meet CDC recommendations.  Employees and students may also purchase their own cloth or disposable face coverings, or make them at home following CDC instructions.

How to Wear Your Face Covering

Follow CDC instructions for proper use, handling, and disposable of face coverings: 

Always have more than one face covering with you in case one gets wet, dirty, or damaged during the day.

Cloth face coverings should be laundered at the end of the day and must be laundered regularly. Disposable face coverings should be thrown away.

Face Coverings Accommodations

Any employee or student who is not able to wear a cloth or disposable face covering for medical reasons may request to be considered for a reasonable accommodation to use a face covering alternative. UVM anticipates no accommodation that allows a UVM employee, student, or community member to be present at UVM facilities or activities in the presence of other people without a face covering, unless they meet one of the exemptions from VDH/CDC listed above.

Employees and students may also request to be considered for additional respiratory protection due to a medical condition.

Employees should contact the UVM ADA Coordinator in Human Resource Services at accessibility@uvm.edu  or 802-656-0945 to request accommodations. Students should contact Student Accessibility Services at access@uvm.edu or 802-656-7753.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Be Double Masking?

Double masking (wearing a cloth face covering over a disposable mask) is one way you can improve the fit and filtration of your face covering. Double masking is not considered PPE that allows for "close contact" (interacting in less than 6-feet distance for greater than 15 minutes). Double masking is not generally required at UVM but you can choose to double mask. If you decide to double mask, please follow the recommendations outlined by the CDC and make sure your double mask does not restrict your breathing or interfere with your vision.

Double masking has both increased benefits and increased risks.

Increased benefits include:

  • Increases filtration of the mask system by adding an additional layer
  • Increases fit by reducing gaps left by a single face covering
  • A second mask keeps the other mask clean and dry

Increased risks include:

  • Increased breathing resistance
  • Increased discomfort
  • Mask supply may not keep up with increased demand

Can I wear my scarf, ski mask, or balaclava as a face covering?


Scarves are not face coverings because they do not fit snugly around the face and are generally not tightly knitted.

No, ski masks or balaclavas are not substitutes for face coverings as they generally allow for un-filtered exhalation.

If you need to wear a ski mask or balaclava, wear it over your face covering.

Can I wear a neck gaiter or buff as my face covering?

Generally, no, UNLESS your neck gaiter or buff is made of at least 2 layers of tightly woven fabric that does not let light pass through when held up to a light source.

Can I wear a folded bandana as my face covering?

No.  Bandanas do not fit snugly around the face so they cannot be used as face coverings

Can I Wear A KN95 as My Face Covering

KN95s are filtering facepiece respirators that are made and used in China.  KN95s without exhalation valves can be worn as face coverings at UVM.  KN95s may increase breathing resistance.  Do not wear a K95 if it restricts your breathing. 

Please note that KN95s are not substitutes for N95 respirators.  If your job requires you to wear an N95 respirator, wearing a KN95 instead is not sufficient.  Please contact ohealth@uvm.edu with any questions.

Can I wear a surgical, medical, or procedure mask as my face covering?

Yes, these meet the requirements for face coverings.  However, these are considered medical personal protective equipment (PPE) and should be reserved for students or employees in situations where additional protection is required and when physical distancing is not an option.  

Your professor or supervisor will conduct a risk assessment to determine if these types of masks are required.  If they are required, they may be ordered by your department’s Safety Officers/Logistics Coordinators through UVM Materials Management. 

These masks are disposable and should be thrown away after use or if they get wet or dirty.  Do not re-use or launder.

Can I wear a face shield as my face covering?

No.  A face shield is not a face covering. 

A face shield may be worn in addition to a medical or surgical mask when additional protection is required and physical distancing is not an option.

Face shields may be ordered by your department Safety Officers/Logistics Coordinators through UVM Materials Management.

Can I wear an N95 Respirator as my face covering?

N95s are considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and are reserved for medical personnel, first responders, and UVM personnel performing jobs that expose them other airborne hazards like asbestos or lead paint dust. 

The use of N95s at UVM is regulated by the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA).  Contact the UVM Occupational Health Program if you have questions about wearing N95 respirators at work: ohealth@uvm.edu

My face covering is causing my glasses to fog. What should I do?

Use a face covering that has a flexible wire over the nose bridge so you can bend it to fit closely over your nose. 

To reduce fogging when using a transparent face covering, rub a small drop of dish soap on the inside of the face covering.

Should I sneeze into my face covering, or remove it and sneeze into my elbow or tissue?

Remove your face covering and sneeze into a clean tissue or into your elbow.

Afterwards, throw the tissue away (if you used one), put your face covering back on, and immediately wash/sanitize your hands. 

You should keep a spare face covering with you in case the one you are wearing becomes wet, dirty, sneezed-in, or otherwise in need of cleaning

What if I have a medical condition and cannot wear a mask?

You may request a reasonable accommodation and may be able to wear a transparent face covering. 

Employees: contact the UVM ADA/504 Coordinator at accessibility@uvm.edu or 802-656-0945

Students: contact Student Accessibility Services at access@uvm.edu or 802-656-7753.

Please note: UVM does not anticipate a situation in which an accommodation would be approved that would allow a UVM employee, student or community member to be on campus in the presence of others without a face covering, unless they meet one of exemptions described above.


LAST UPDATED 4 February 2021Questions about content: UVM.Strong@uvm.eduQuestions about webpage: safety@uvm.edu