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Mask distribution underway at IU; policies implemented for those who don’t comply with mandate

Aug 20, 2020

To keep members of the Indiana University community safe, masks have been mandatory for all people entering a building or when physical distancing is not possible on all IU campuses since June 1. Since then, counties that host IU campuses have enacted mask mandates as well.

As the school year approaches and more people prepare to spend time on IU campuses, read about how IU-provided masks will be distributed, how they were chosen, what other masks are acceptable and more.

An IU student wears a black IU-branded mask
All IU faculty, staff and students will be given two free, IU-branded masks.Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

IU masks

All IU faculty, staff and students will be given two free, IU-branded masks, which are made from a cotton blend and come in black and gray. The masks are one size, but they have toggles to shorten or lengthen the ear loops. These masks will be distributed differently for different groups.

Distribution for the IU Bloomington campus is as follows:

  • Faculty and staff: Masks are being mailed to the home address on file for all IU faculty and staff.
  • Students living in residential housing: These students will receive their masks during the centralized check-in process of move-in at Memorial Stadium.
  • Off-campus students, online students and sorority/fraternity residents: Students in these groups who have recently updated their home address in the Student Information System will receive their masks in the mail. Those who did not update their address will receive their masks during their appointment for on-arrival COVID-19 testing.

Masks for students, faculty and staff at IUPUI and other regional campuses have been mailed to home addresses. Cloth masks will be available Aug. 24 to 27 on the south side of the IUPUI Campus Center along Vermont Street, and students at regional campuses who did not receive their masks in the mail will be able to pick them up in various campus locations during the first week of classes.

How the masks were chosen

In addition to assessing masks for durability, comfort and fit, IU Environmental Health and Safety tested the fabric filtration rate of various mask styles and manufacturers.

To do this assessment, the team used a laser photometer, a device commonly used in measuring indoor air quality, to compare the particle concentration in the ambient air to the particle concentration of ambient air filtered by the mask fabric. From this data, the rate of filtration (i.e., percentage of particle reduction) was calculated, which was then used to help compare and select the best-performing mask overall.

“The high filtration rate of the mask made it a strong choice to keep IU faculty, students, staff and visitors safe,” said Brad Seifers, director for Emergency Management and Continuity. “Research continues to demonstrate that wearing masks reduces the spread of COVID-19, and effective masks are one of the keys to the safe return to IU campuses.”

Other mask options

Two students in masks learn in a classroom
Those on IU campuses can wear any mask that meets guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

While IU will be providing masks, those on campus can wear any mask that meets these guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Completely covers the nose and mouth.
  • Is secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Includes multiple layers of fabric.
  • Allows for breathing without restriction.
  • Is able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape, if they are cloth.

Disposable masks will also be available across campus for those waiting to receive their masks or who may have misplaced or forgotten their cloth masks. IU Guides will be stationed at 10 spots around the IU Bloomington campus with disposable masks on the first day of classes.

At least 250 disposable mask dispensers will be installed on the IU Bloomington campus, including at all major building entrances. Campus Facility Services at IUPUI will install 150 dispensers, while 25 dispensers will be installed at IU Southeast.

Departments that require additional masks should use IU’s new process to bulk purchase personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. Departments can now order the cloth masks selected by Environmental Health and Safety with campus- or department-specific branding. Those wishing to purchase a different type of mask must first receive Environmental Health and Safety’s approval. In addition, all branded masks must have design approval from the IU Licensing and Trademarks Office before ordering.

Failure or refusal to comply with the health and safety directives adopted by the university to combat the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a mask, could lead to suspension or expulsion for students and corrective action or termination for employees.

Read more about masks and personal protective equipment at IU at


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Marah Yankey

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