UMSL Face Covering Policy:

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 acceptable 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. Additionally, St. Louis County public health orders currently require the use of face coverings as does university policy.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis 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 or other university-owned vehicles 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.

Exemptions include:

  • Employees working alone in private offices, conference rooms, labs or other enclosed, single-occupied spaces.
  • Employees working within shared spaces as follows:
    • Employees seated at desks separated by cubicles with a minimum partition height of six feet while maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet from others.
    • Face coverings must be worn when not seated at an individual work station such as when leaving a work station to utilize areas such as office printers or breakrooms.
  • Those who live in university-owned or approved residential housing while in their private rooms or apartments. Face coverings are required to be worn in all common areas.
  • Children under the age of two.
  • Face coverings may be removed when consuming food or beverage while maintaining six-foot physical distancing.

Acceptable face coverings:

  • Face coverings made of cloth, fabric or permeable material are acceptable forms of face coverings (this does not include the use of bandanas or neck gaiters).
    • Face coverings must fully cover both the nose and mouth and have no holes or valves that would allow droplets out of the mask.
  • Personal protective equipment such as N-95 professional respirators or surgical masks are required for those working in clinical, healthcare or research settings as determined by each unit.
  • CDC guidance on cloth face coverings, wearing and washing reusable cloth face coverings, as well as making your own cloth face covering is available online.

Face shields:

In fall 2020, the CDC revised its guidance on the use of face shields indicating: “There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.”

  • Following CDC guidance, the university does not consider the wearing of a face shield alone to be an acceptable face covering for general use by anyone occupying a physical building or facility owned, operated or managed by the university or utilizing campus transportation.
  • However, individuals may wear a face shield in combination with an approved face covering for additional protection.          
    • Available data suggests that hooded face shields and those that wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin provided better source control.
    • Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use and disposed of according to manufacturer instructions.
    • Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use according to manufacturer instructions or by following CDC face shield cleaning instructions.

If there are concerns related to this policy, including those who believe they require a health or disability-related accommodation, contact:

  • Students: Health, Counseling and Disability Access Services – 314-516-5671 or
  • Employees: Human Resources – 314-516-5805 or

Obtaining a face covering:

  • Employees – including faculty, staff and student workers – were provided with two cloth face coverings.
  • The university will distribute a number of cloth face coverings to students during the first week of classes, as well as provide disposable masks as needed, but will rely on students to provide their own face coverings.
  • For clinical and non-clinical settings, departments may request disposable face coverings by completing a COVID-19 Request Form.
  • We expect visitors to supply their own face covering, however, those unable to do so may contact the department which they are visiting to request a disposable mask be available and arrange for pick up prior to entering a building.

Signage will be posted to inform individuals of face covering requirements. Signage will be consistent in format across the campus.

Syllabus statements will include notifications of the requirement to wear a face mask/covering in classrooms and other instructional or public areas. Employee return-to-work training documents will also include notifications of the requirements. 

All students, faculty, staff and visitors are expected to adhere to this policy. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in denial of access to designated areas or participation in programs or activities, and/or discipline in accordance with applicable university policies. 

In classrooms, faculty have the right to deny a student entry into the room if the student is not wearing a face mask/covering without exemption. Violations of this policy by faculty, staff and visitors, including contractors and vendors, should be addressed by the appropriate supervisor, department chair or student affairs professional who should involve Human Resources (staff), Academic Affairs (faculty), or Student Affairs (students).


Departments may request PPE through the COVID-19 Request Form (You must be logged into your sso@umsystem Google account to view.