Policy: Face Covering Required

Updated June 10, 2020, 7:50 p.m.

Policy: Face Covering Required During COVID-19 Pandemic, June 10, 2020

Also see: Face-Covering Policy Frequently Asked Questions

Applies to: All persons, including but not limited to, all employees (faculty, staff, researchers, trainees, post-docs, visiting scholars, student employees), third-party business entities, visitors, and students, authorized to enter any Dartmouth worksite ("all persons"). Nothing in this policy authorizes a return to on-site work by any person or creates or expands rights of access. Policies on these issues are stated in other Dartmouth COVID-19 policies.

Purpose: To protect the health and safety of the Dartmouth community by reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Policy Statement: Dartmouth requires all persons to wear cloth face coverings at all times when using or accessing shared or communal spaces at any Dartmouth worksite and also when a minimum of six feet of physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

Six feet of physical distancing, often referred to as social distancing, remains important in slowing the spread of the COVID-19. Even when physical distancing can be maintained, a cloth face covering is required as an additional public health measure to help prevent the spread of the virus from a person who may be carrying the virus but does not have symptoms. A cloth face covering is not considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and does not protect the wearer from the COVID-19 virus. Employees whose jobs require the use of PPE will be provided with appropriate face masks to meet PPE standards applicable to their positions.

Cloth face coverings are just one protective measure, and are not a substitute for physical distancing, regular hand washing and hand sanitizing, and additional cleaning protocols.

Examples of when cloth face coverings are required include:

  • When entering or exiting buildings
  • When traveling in a vehicle with another person on Dartmouth business
  • When using or traveling through any common areas and shared spaces in buildings, even if another person is not immediately visible or present in the space at that time:
    • Restrooms
    • Kitchens and kitchenettes
    • Break rooms
    • Elevators
    • Conference rooms
    • Libraries
    • Hallways and corridors
    • Shared workspaces and offices
    • Private offices when more than one person is present
    • Classrooms
    • Laboratories where more than one person may be present, including access to:
      • Core facilities
      • Shared equipment rooms
      • Laboratory space assigned to or shared with other research groups
      • Enclosed single laboratories, if more than one person is scheduled to be present

Employees are not required to wear face coverings:

  • When working in a private and enclosed office or laboratory space that is not shared with any other individual.
  • When eating or drinking in a common dining area or break room that has been designated and approved for employee breaks with physical distancing protocols marked and observed.

Procedures: Cloth face coverings must securely cover one's nose and mouth, should not be reversed, moved or removed unnecessarily, should not be shared with others, and must be kept clean. Single-use face coverings must be properly and safely discarded after each use. Face covering or N95 mask with one-way exhalation valves are not acceptable as they are designed to allow droplets to pass through the covering. Cloth face coverings may be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. They may also be purchased from multiple locations. Dartmouth will provide cloth face coverings for anyone in need; employees should let their supervisor know if they need to be provided with a face covering.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, an effective cloth covering will:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape

Enforcement: All persons accessing Dartmouth facilities or worksites are expected to comply with this policy, without exception. Anyone not wearing a face covering as expected will be asked to leave the facility immediately; will be subject to corrective action or disciplinary process as appropriate for failure to comply with Dartmouth policy; and may lose any privileges or ability to access Dartmouth facilities.

Inquiries regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of Human Resources. Reports of any violations of this policy may be made to an administrator in the facility or building, an employee's supervising department or division's administrative office, or to the Office of Human Resources. Employees who have concerns about adhering to this policy for medical reasons are encouraged to contact the ADA Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity to discuss possible accommodations.

Duration: This policy will be in effect until further notice.

Resources: How to Safely Wear and Remove a Cloth Face Covering (CDC) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Recommendations