EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was last updated July 30. In addition, a statewide mask mandate went into effect on July 27.
As Indiana University staff, faculty and researchers begin arriving back on campuses across the state in preparation for the start of classes in August, university safety officials are sharing reminders that masks are required on all IU campuses.
The rule went into effect June 1 and was shared via a public safety announcement.
Who has to wear a mask, and when?
The mask requirement applies to all members of the university community including employees, students, contractors, suppliers, vendors and visitors.
Types of campus spaces where face coverings are mandatory include, but are not limited to, classrooms, office spaces (including cubicles), elevators, hallways, outdoor spaces, and other locations where intermittent interactions with others might occur, such as seating near aisle ways and other passages.
Face coverings are not required within enclosed spaces when one person is present with the door closed. Face coverings are also not required during eating or drinking as long as adequate physical distancing is possible.
To ensure that everyone has masks to wear, IU will provide each student, faculty member and staff member with two masks. Director for Emergency Management and Continuity Brad Seifers said that those on campus are not required to wear the university-provided mask and can purchase and wear any mask that meets CDC guidelines.
Per CDC guidelines, masks should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
- Completely cover the nose and mouth.
- 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, if they are cloth.
Students, staff or faculty who need accommodations should use campus resources available at ada.iu.edu.
How will I receive my IU-provided masks?
Students in Residential Programs and Services housing will receive their masks when they check in, and non-RPS students will be able to pick them up at many buildings throughout campus. Masks will be mailed to the home address for faculty and staff by the end of July or early August.
The masks are made from a cotton blend and come in black and gray. All campuses except IUPUI will receive masks with a small trident on the upper-right side of the face; the IUPUI masks are marked "IUPUI" on the upper-right side. The masks are one size, but they have toggles to shorten or lengthen the ear loops.
Seifers said Protect IU representatives tested the filtration rate of sample masks from more than five companies.
"This mask was chosen because it offered a high filtration rate, making it a strong choice as we continue the university's work to keep those who visit our campuses safe," he said. "Research continues to demonstrate that wearing face coverings reduces the spread of COVID-19. We should wear them out of respect for our fellow members of the IU community."
How do I care for my mask?
Masks should be washed frequently or when they become wet or dirty, but no less than every other day, Associate University Director for Environmental Health and Safety Kathryn Manteuffel said.
Use the warmest water permissible and laundry detergent, and allow them to dry completely before reuse. Bleach is not necessary.
Departments who require additional masks should use IU's new process to bulk purchase personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
What if someone isn't wearing their mask?
IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel said that everyone on the Bloomington campus is expected to wear a mask.
"I am not messing around with this," she told people attending a virtual town hall meeting in mid-June. "Being on our campus is a privilege."
She continues to work with Bloomington campus leaders on enforcement mechanisms that will be announced when they are finalized.
IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar reinforced the need for face coverings during a recent virtual town hall meeting for faculty and staff.
"Effective June 1, face coverings on campus are mandatory, and we expect everyone to comply with this requirement to help protect and preserve health and safety," he said.
Members of Paydar's cabinet are working to identify protocols for enforcing this requirement, as well as ensuring that an abundant supply of masks is available to address multiple situations in which faculty, staff and students might arrive to campus without appropriate masks.
IU Kokomo Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke also called on everyone who comes on campus to wear a mask.
"Our students have shared with us that they want to be on campus for an in-person educational experience this fall semester," Sciame-Giesecke said. "We are committed to providing that experience.
"However, we know that in order to do that, everyone must do his or her part. Wearing a mask, washing hands, and social distancing will be required. We must hold strong to doing what is best for all of our faculty, staff and students.
"I hope that by reminding students that we have a responsibility to one another, everyone will fully participate and accept responsibility for their own behavior."
IU employees who have concerns about someone not wearing a mask should alert their supervisor. Managers, directors, principal investigators for research teams, department chairs and deans can help ensure that appropriate safety measures are being taken.