Rally Together

This guidance was developed to comply with Vermont’s Stay Home Stay Safe order, the Vermont Department of Health recommendations, and the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates. This guidance will be amended as necessary to reflect the latest health and safety state and federal recommendations.



This guidance applies to everyone using UVM facilities and event spaces. This includes UVM employees, students, vendors, contractors, volunteers, 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.

Face Coverings are required in the State of Vermont

Effective August 1, 2020, in Vermont, you are required to wear a face mask in public spaces, any time it is not possible to keep a 6-foot distance from others who are not part of your household. See Wear a Face Mask to Keep COVID-19 from Spreading from Vermont Department of Health.

Guidance for Face Coverings at UVM

As of April 25, 2020, face coverings are to be worn at UVM whenever you are in the presence of other people or in a public setting. Appropriate use of face coverings helps protect others from your droplets when you cough, sneeze, or talk, therefore reducing the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and other disease prevention methods.
Face coverings are not respirators and should NOT be worn for job tasks that require respiratory protection.

Face coverings are required at UVM:

  • Inside any UVM non-residential buildings where distance from others cannot be controlled or you are not alone in the space (e.g. common areas, hallways, lounges, stairways, elevators, classrooms, break rooms, restrooms, etc.);
  • Inside any UVM residence hall with the exception of your assigned room - students are allowed to remove their mask if they are brushing their teeth or showering;
  • Outdoors in busy areas of campus, such as campus walkways, where 6 feet of distance from others cannot be maintained at all times;
  • Whenever you are interacting with another person indoors or outdoors;
  • When riding in a UVM vehicle with another person; or
  • When riding a UVM campus shuttle bus.
  • Face coverings are required during strenuous activities indoors, or outdoors when in proximity to 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’ 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 inside a private office or single-occupancy workspace to which you can close the door;
  • You are inside your room or your suite in your residence hall (see Residence Hall Policies) or brushing your teeth in your residence hall.
  • You are performing job duties and remain alone in an area where you control access and you can remain at least 6 feet away from people at all times;
  • 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 face coverings when you are finished eating/drinking;
  • When the nature of your work is outdoors, you are not interacting with others, and can maintain at least a 6 foot distance from other people at all times;
  • You are working at an area where you are protected by a Plexiglas “sneeze guard” barrier, or similar approved control device, that has been approved in your Fall 2020 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.

EXEMPTIONS: 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 or remove the face covering without assistance;
  • Anyone experiencing trouble breathing or who is unconscious; or
  • Individuals who work 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.


  • Face Covering – A covering over one’s nose and mouth. A face covering can be disposable or made from reusable cloth material. A face covering does not necessarily provide additional protection for the wearer, but helps minimize the spread of COVID-19 to other people. It must be constructed of sufficient material to filter respiratory particles from exhaled air and may not have an exhalation valve. A face covering is not considered personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Face Shield – A piece of rigid, clear plastic attached to a headband that covers a person’s entire face, including eyes, nose, mouth and chin. A face shield is considered PPE because it protects the face and eyes from hazards such as splashes of hazardous materials, and flying objects. A face shield does not provide respiratory protection.
  • Procedure Mask – A disposable face covering that meets ASTM Level 1 standards and is designed to protect both patients and clinical staff from the transfer of respiratory secretions, fluids or other debris. Procedure masks are used for general “respiratory etiquette“ to prevent clinicians, patients and visitors from spreading germs by talking, coughing, or sneezing. Procedure masks have ear loops for quick donning, and since they do not slide on the hair, they can be worn without a surgical cap. 
  • Respirator – A device that covers and the nose and mouth or the entire face to protect the wearer from airborne hazards. Respirators are certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to provide the wearer a certain degree of protection from airborne hazards when fitted properly to the face and are considered PPE. The use of respirators at UVM, including N-95s, is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and UVM’s Respiratory Protection Program.
  • Surgical Mask – Similar to a procedure mask, but with ties that go around the head rather than ear loops and meets ASTTM level 3 standards. For the purpose of UVM non-clinical COVID guidance, the use of the term surgical mask should refer to procedure masks.

Proper Use of Face Coverings

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, and fit snugly and comfortably around your face leaving no gaps;
  • Allow you to breathe normally without restriction, and 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 of sufficient weave and/or thickness to remove respiratory droplets from exhaled air.

How to Use a Face Covering


- Wash your hands before and after handling your face covering

- Touch the outer layer of your face covering while wearing it

- Remove your face covering by the ear loops or ties - Remove your face covering by the outer layer
- Remove your face covering completely to eat or drink - Pull your face covering down to talk to other people
- Store your face covering in a bag, on a clean sheet of paper, or on a paper towel when not in use - Leave your face covering on counters, computers, or other unprotected surfaces
- Change your face covering if it gets dirty, wet, or damaged - Keep wearing your face covering if it becomes dirty, wet, or damaged
- Bring more than one face covering with you to work - Wear a face covering that only covers your mouth and leaves your nose exposed
- Launder or throw away your face covering at the end of the day - Reuse a face covering for multiple days without washing it


Cloth Face Coverings

In most settings at UVM, employees and students are expected to wear cloth face coverings that meet CDC guidelines. UVM is providing a limited supply of cloth face coverings to employees and students.

  • Face coverings must, at a minimum, follow the CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings Guidance.
    • Completely cover your nose and mouth, and fit snugly and comfortably around your face leaving no gaps;
    • Allow you to breathe normally without restriction, and 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 of sufficient weave and/or thickness to remove respiratory droplets from exhaled air.
  • UVM will provide all employees working on campus with 3 reusable cloth face coverings. Face coverings must be picked up at the Davis Center with your UVM CatCard.
  • Employees may also purchase their own cloth face coverings or make them at home by following CDC guidance. 
  • Cloth face coverings must be laundered at home after use.
  • Cloth face coverings do not provide eye protection

A neck-gaiter is not acceptable for use as a face covering unless it meets all criteria. If your neck gaiters is not constructed of at least 2 layers of cloth and/or filtering material of sufficient weave and/or thickness to remove respiratory droplets from exhaled air, then it cannot be used as a face covering.  Check to see if it passes the “rule of thumb test,” i.e., when stretched as it would be when worn, you cannot see your thumb on the other side of the material.

Bandanas that are folded over once and tied around the head do not fit snugly enough to be used as face coverings.

Procedure/Surgical Masks

These are appropriate for situations where additional protection is available, such as in clinical settings, academic labs, mentoring, and other situations where physical distancing is not an option, or other risks are elevated. These situations must be fully assessed rather than relying only on this piece of equipment.

  • UVM Department Safety/Logistics officers may request surgical-style masks for personnel through UVM Materials Management COVID-19 Central Warehouse.
  • These masks are disposable and should not be laundered.
  • They should be thrown away after use or if they become wet, dirty, or damaged.
  • These do not provide eye protection.
  • Procedure masks with transparent panels are available.

Transparent Face Coverings

Transparent face coverings are designed to allow for people to show mouth and lip movements while maintaining COVID-19 protections. These may be useful for teaching language, conveying emotion, or facilitating communications with people who read lips. Transparent face-covering options and their acceptance for use in UVM facilities are listed in the table below. The efficacy, use, and care of these face coverings is specific to the manufacturer.

For maximum effectiveness when using a transparent face covering:

  • Ensure that breathing is not restricted and that vents do not allow for direct expulsion of respiratory droplets.
  • Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for laundering and cleaning.

These do not provide eye protection.

PRO TIP! A small drop of dishwasher detergent can be rubbed onthe inside of the transparent covering to reduce fogging>


Transparent Face Covering Options
CompanyProductNotesPriceEHS Determination
Fischer Scientific, BrilliantMultipleThese products have a flexible piece of transparent plastic sewn into a cloth face covering and will be available through UVM Physical Plant. (Currently backordered) Acceptable as face covering
Safe 'N' ClearThe Communicator ShieldFDA-registered device meets ASTM Level 1 surgical mask standards with the added benefit of a fog-resistant clear window for improved communication.  Out of stock at present$1.50@Acceptable as procedure mask and face covering
Rapid Response PPEThe Humanity ShieldThis product does not meet the requirements of a face covering. It may be used only as, and within the limitations of, a face shield.$40@Acceptable as face shield, but not as face covering.
ClearMaskThe Clear MaskMeets ASTM Level 3 standards for fluid resistance and flammability. Our own product tests have shown this mask to be very uncomfortable and difficult to wear.$2.80@Acceptable as procedure mask and face covering


Face Shield

Face shields do not meet the requirements of face coverings, and cannot be worn for COVID-19 protection except as a supplement to a face covering.

Face shields may be worn over a procedure mask or respirator in clinical, laboratory, mentoring, and similar settings where people cannot maintain 6 feet or more of distance for an extended period of time.

When face shields are worn, the shield must extend from forehead to below the chin and wrap around the side of face to the ears.

Reusable face shield should be disinfected after use. Please check the manufacturer’s instructions for your face shield on proper cleaning or disposal guidelines.

Dust Masks or Paper Masks

  • These are available for purchase at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • Dust or paper masks are disposable and should not be laundered.
  • They should be thrown away after use or if they become wet, dirty, or damaged.
  • These do not provide eye protection.

Disposable Particulate Respirators (N95)

  • N-95 respirators are reserved for medical personnel, first responders, and UVM personnel performing jobs that involve other particulate hazards such as asbestos or lead paint.
  • N-95 respirators carry the NIOSH N95 stamp. Please note that KN-95 is a non-U.S. certification and KN-95 devices cannot be substituted for N-95 respirators. See NIOSH guidance on counterfeit respirators.
  • Contact UVM Occupational Health Program if you have any questions about wearing N-95s at work: ohealth@uvm.edu
  • These do not provide eye protection.

Face Covering 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.


What if I have to Sneeze?

Please 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 have a spare face covering in case the one you are wearing becomes dirty, wet, sneezed-in, or otherwise in need of cleaning.



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.


LAST UPDATED 6 October 2020 Questions about content: UVM.Strong@uvm.eduQuestions about webpage: safety@uvm.edu