Are face coverings required?
The University of Missouri–St. Louis, effective July 1, 2020, and until further notice, requires the wearing of face coverings by all students, faculty, staff and visitors – including contractors and vendors – when entering or occupying a physical building or facility owned, operated or managed by the university. Additionally, face coverings will be required when utilizing campus shuttles and when a minimum physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained in any outdoor area of the university – or if otherwise required by public health order. For more information regarding this requirement, please see the following website: https://www.umsl.edu/staysafe/face-coverings.html
Why are face coverings being required?
While maintaining physical distancing, practicing good hygiene measures (e.g., frequent hand washing, avoiding touching the face, covering coughs and sneezes), and staying home when ill are the best known protections against COVID-19, the CDC also advises the use of face coverings as a complimentary measure to slow the spread of the virus by helping people who may have the virus but are asymptomatic from transmitting it to others.
What constitutes a face covering?
Face coverings made of cloth, fabric or permeable material are acceptable forms of face coverings. Face coverings must fully cover both the nose and mouth and have no holes or valves that would allow droplets out of the mask. It should be loose fitting but still secure enough to stay in place.
Where can I get a face covering?
Faculty and staff were provided with two cloth masks in fall 2020. Instructors must wear face coverings when teaching in-person classes. Additional face coverings and other personal protective equipment is available for purchase in the Triton Store in the Millennium Student Center.
How do faculty or staff members request a health or disability-related accommodation related to face coverings?
Faculty and staff who require a health or disability-related accommodation should contact Human Resources by emailing email@example.com.
How do I address a student not wearing a face covering when required?
If a student is not wearing a face covering when required, employees should first ask if they have a university-approved accommodation. If Disability Access Services has granted an individual accommodation, the student will have appropriate documentation to verify that accommodation. You may not ask the individual to disclose the specific circumstances for the accommodation. It is important that these individuals maintain a six foot physical distance from others.
What if the student does not have documentation for a university-approved accommodation?
If a student is not wearing a face covering and does not have documentation for a university-approved accommodation, first explain that university policy requires all individuals without an approved accommodation to wear a face covering while inside a university owned or managed facility – including all classrooms and labs.
If possible, make every effort to provide an in-the-moment solution to safely enable the student to be in compliance with university policy. Communicate with your department chair or unit administrator to secure disposable face coverings for the classroom or office that might provide a solution for the student. Departments and units may order face coverings centrally through UMSL Facilities Management.
What if a student fails to comply within a classroom or other university setting where coverings are required?
In the event a student is violating the university’s face covering policy and causing a significant disruption to the learning environment, additional steps such as involving university police personnel (314-516-5155), may be enacted in order to protect the health, safety and well-being of the community. While this should be the last option for faculty to consider, it is important for our community’s health and safety for face covering requirements to be consistently followed. The UMSL Police Department is trained in de-escalation practices and can manage the situation professionally and with dignity.
Additionally, faculty and staff should submit a Student Conduct & Community Standards referral form so Student Affairs they may follow up with the student to determine if there are any issues that need to be addressed based on conduct and community standards. Sanctions for violations could include written warnings, university probation, loss of privileges and university suspension.
Where should I direct students who indicate that they require an accommodation but do not have a university-approved accommodation?
We must all recognize that there are circumstances where individuals may be physically or medically unable to wear a traditional cloth face covering. However, there are many options for compliant coverings that may meet a variety of needs. Students who require a health or disability-related accommodation, or are otherwise unable to place or remove a face covering without assistance must request an accommodation through Disability Access Services.
As a faculty member, what can I do to further mitigate potential issues in the classroom?
To help mitigate potential issues in the classroom while protecting the health and safety of our community, we encourage faculty to take the following steps:
- Add a statement to your syllabus reminding students that face coverings are required by university policy when occupying any university owned or managed facility – including all classrooms and labs – and that students will be required to leave if they do not have an appropriate covering (or accommodation letter from DAS). Faculty should advise that if a student is asked to leave a physical setting due to violation of university policy, a referral will be made to Student Conduct and Community Standards.
- Prior to the first in-person class meeting, faculty are encouraged to send an email reminding students that face coverings are required by the university and will need to be worn during an all-person class sessions, in addition to while inside all university buildings, enclosed spaces such as campus shuttles and when unable to maintain a six foot physical distance when outside.
- For classes that meet less regularly, faculty are encouraged to send a reminder email about required face coverings to the entire class before an on-campus session.
- Give students grace. This is really stressful for us all. Although students should know about the face covering policy, addressing students respectfully will render a more positive response.
- Address any potential violations immediately and as privately as possible. While this may not be possible in every situation, faculty should do their best to ensure university policy is being applied consistently across campus.
Who can I contact if I have concerns with or questions about the face covering policy?
For questions or concerns, please contact Kasey Fraser-Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org, or D’Andre Braddix at email@example.com in the Office of Student Affairs.
Should I include information on my syllabus?
Yes, syllabus templates and sample statements are available here.