Rally Together

This guidance was developed in accordance with 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). We will continue to update this guidance 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. This guidance also applies to University activities in non-UVM spaces, although consideration must be given to the requirements of the host site; the more stringent requirements will apply.

UVM Face Coverings Requirement

As of August 5, 2021, everyone is required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth when inside UVM buildings and UVM vehicles, regardless of vaccination status.

All users of UVM buildings must continue to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and not come to campus, nor participate in UVM in-person activities, if they are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.

Guidance for Face Coverings at UVM

Face coverings are required at UVM:

  • Inside UVM buildings (e.g. building common areas, hallways, stairways, elevators, classrooms, conference rooms, restrooms, entrances, and lobbies) where you cannot remain 6 feet from others at all times;
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, regardless of your ability to maintain distance from others;
  • Inside UVM residence halls, except if you are inside your assigned room or suite;
  • When riding in a UVM vehicle with another person; or
  • When riding a UVM campus shuttle bus.
  • While exercising indoors except in water sports.

Face coverings are not required if:

  • You are outdoors, including in a tent with no walls.
  • You are working inside a private office or single-occupancy workspace to which you can close the door.
  • You are working in a space to which you have full control over access AND in which you are either alone OR can maintain 6 feet of distance from others at all times.  Please note: this only applies to fully-vaccinated people.  People who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings regardless of distance. 
  • You are inside your assigned room or suite in your residence hall, or brushing your teeth or showering in your residence hall bathroom.
  • You are taking a break to eat or drink; you must wear a face covering when you are finished eating/drinking. You cannot walk and eat unmasked while indoors.
  • You are working at an area where you are protected by a Plexiglas “sneeze guard” barrier or similar control device that has installed by UVM Physical Plant, and you are working apart from other employees, and you do not interact with customers outside this work station.
  • 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.


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.  

The Center for Student Conduct has information about student's exbected behavior at UVM.

Supervisors are responsible for enforcing these guidelines within their individual units and/or departments. UVM Labor and Employee Relations can be contacted for assistance with responding to employee behaviors.

UVM personnel may approach people to remind them of the unviersity safety policies and procedures, including wearing a mask indoors, so long as they feel safe in doing so. If confrontation with a person appears dangerous, then UVM personnel should keep a distance and notify UVM Police Services at either 911 or (802)656-3473

General Guidance

Masking in Residence Halls

Face coverings are required indoors.  For UVM Residence Halls, this means face coverings are required while walking through hallways and stairways, while in elevators, lounges, multi-stall restrooms, and other common areas.  

Face coverings are not required when:

  • You are in your assigned room or suite;
  • While brushing your teeth or showering
  • If you are eating or drinking.  You must be seating or stationary if eating in a common area.  Do not walk through the halls unmasked while eating or drinking.

Vaccinated guests and visitors may remove their face coverings when inside a residence hall room or suite.  Unvaccinated guests must keep their face coverings on.  The number of guests allowed in a residence hall room is specified in the Housing and Meal Plan Contract Terms and Conditions. 

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 these accommodations will not allow 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.

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

Can I remove my mask to eat in class?

Unlike last year, this year students must attend classes in person, there are no distancing requirements, and there is no remote option.  To ensure the safety of our students and faculty, masks are required indoors and that includes classrooms, labs and other academic settings. Therefore, consuming food and drink in the classroom, labs, or other academic settings is not permitted. The intermittent lowering of masks to sip a drink could be permitted at the discretion of the Faculty/Graduate TAs.

Can I remove my mask to give a presentation or lecture?

In most indoor settings, the person presenting must continue to wear their mask.

Speakers/Presenters may remove their face coverings at specific events or in the designated classrooms listed below if ALL of the following conditions are met:

  • The speaker/presenter is physically separated from the audience by a lectern, podium, stage, or similar physical barrier;
  • The speaker uses a microphone and speaker system;
  • The speaker wears a mask while walking to and from the speaking area;
  • The nearest audience member is at least 6 feet distant; and
  • The audience members wear face coverings.

The specific classroom areas that this applies to are limited to

  • Benedict Auditorium (ML SCI235),
  • Billings Theater (BLLNGS LH),
  • Carpenter Auditorium (GIVN E E131),
  • Innovation Hall E102, E105, E210, E330, 
  • The Royall Tyler Theater main stage, and
  • Waterman Memorial Lounge (only when set up in lecture style with podium).

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 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.

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

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.  Ski masks or balaclavas are not substitutes for face coverings as they 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. 

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 in situations where additional protection is needed.


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 30 August 2021Questions about content: UVM.Strong@uvm.eduQuestions about webpage: safety@uvm.edu