How do I address a student not wearing a face mask?
If a student is not wearing a face mask where required, you should first ask that they put a mask on per university policy or may ask if they have a university-approved accommodation. If an individual accommodation has been granted, 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 when possible.
What if the student does not have documentation for a university-approved accommodation?
If a student is not wearing a face mask and does not have documentation for a university-approved accommodation, first ask them to put one on and explain that university policy requires all individuals without an approved accommodation to wear a face mask 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 follow university policy. For example, if the student forgot to bring a mask, see if you can provide a disposable mask for them to wear. Communicate with your department chair or unit administrator to secure disposable face masks for the classroom or office, which can be ordered centrally online (you must be logged into Google) through Facilities Management. This will provide an immediate solution for the student.
Disposable masks are also available at no cost in the Welcome Center, MSC Information Desk, Cashiers Office, Multicultural Student Services, CAS Advising, COBA Advising, Nursing Advising, Honors Advising, TJ Library and Veterans Center. The Triton Store also has branded masks available for purchase.
What if a student continues no not comply with the policy?
First, ask them to leave the setting. In the event a student continues to violate the policy and is causing a significant disruption to the learning environment, you may need to involve university police personnel 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 that our face mask requirements be consistently followed. The UMSL Police Department may be reached at 314-516-5155 and personnel are trained in de-escalation practices and can manage the situation professionally and with dignity.
Additionally, faculty should submit a Student Conduct & Community Standards referral form so Student Affairs can 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. For questions regarding referrals, please contact Dean of Students D’Andre Braddix at email@example.com.
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 mask. However, there are many options for compliant masks 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 mask 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 masks are required by university policy or verbally/visually share the policy on day one:
- University policy requires all individuals ages five and older, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a facemask inside all university facilities, including classrooms and labs. Those who fail to comply with the university’s Face Covering Policy will be required to leave the physical setting if they do not have documentation for an approved accommodation, and a referral will be made to Student Conduct and Community Standards.
- For classes that meet less regularly, faculty are encouraged to send a reminder email about required face masks 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 masks 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.
- Download, print and post one of our face mask 8.5x11 posters: Face Masks Required in Classrooms or Louie/Tritons Stay Safe.