Cloth face coverings are required indoors and outdoors on Texas State campuses unless you are alone.
Being alone for the purposes of indoor spaces in all Texas State University facilities means that you are in a discrete room by yourself. Being alone when outdoors means that you are not part of a group, you are not in a crowded area, and you are going out of your way to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet is maintained. The use of two-ply cloth face coverings is the cornerstone of our plan to combat the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings need to become second nature to all of us.
It is important that your face mask meets standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A quality face covering will:
- Have at least two layers of material
- Utilize at least one layer of a tightly woven material, such as:
- Nylon, Canvas, or Cotton (200+ thread count)
- Silk or synthetic silk (100% polyester, tight weave, not very stretchable)
- Chiffon (90% polyester, 10% spandex)
- Spandex (52% nylon, 39% polyester, 9% spandex)
- Cover the nose and mouth completely
- Fit snug against the sides of the face and chin with no gaps
- Be secured with ties or elastic to prevent slipping
- Not make it difficult to breathe
Launder your mask daily or rotate between at least two masks on alternating days.
A face shield is typically added to a face mask to add protection against exposure to contaminated fluids. Face shields by themselves do not provide the same level of protection from respiratory aerosols as a good procedure/surgical or cloth face mask. Moreover, the wearer if infected may be spreading more aerosols into the air and exposing others. Similarly, the wearer is not as protected as if wearing a good face mask. Exceptions may be granted to face mask wearing for those with respiratory or other medical problems that would make wearing a face mask difficult. A face shield might be the next best option in that case. For faculty who feel they cannot communicate well in a face mask should try different types of cloth face masks or a procedure/surgical mask. Another option may be to use a portable microphone to make it easier to project their voice. If none of these options work, then a face shield might be the only option left. This option should be used only if absolutely necessary. If others see a person wearing a face shield, they might think that it is OK for them to do so as well. In short, face masks provide better protection.
- Students will be responsible for providing their own face masks.
- If a student forgets to wear a mask on a class day, three to four disposable masks will be available in classroom cleaning kits.
- Visit this easy do-it-yourself tutorial on how to make a face covering.
- Face masks are available to order on the TXST Bookstore website.
- 35,000 reusable face coverings are available for employees who do not have their own. The university is distributing these masks through deans and department heads, who have already been contacted about placing orders for their areas. Employees in need of a mask should contact their dean or department head to acquire one.
- 2,000 face coverings were distributed to employees during summer I session.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) was distributed to employees whose jobs require it.
- Procedure masks are recommended to be worn in laboratory or clinical settings when there is frequent close contact with others and Standard Operating Procedures stipulate.
The first step in increasing compliance with our face covering requirement is for all of us to demonstrate the behavior ourselves. Secondly, we all need to become comfortable making a polite remark in passing such as “Excuse me, I wanted to let you know that face coverings are required at Texas State.” There is no need to feel self-conscious about making such a remark, nor is there the need to demand action or wait for a reply. If we all follow these simple suggestions, we will be off to a good start, although, clearly not everyone will choose to comply with this friendly approach.
Noncompliance with face covering requirements will be handled through existing employee discipline, faculty discipline and student judicial processes. If a student does not conform after being notified of the requirement, the instructor may ask the student to leave the classroom or enact other measures. Disciplinary procedures may be implemented for refusing to follow an instructor’s directive, refusing to leave the classroom, not following the university’s requirement to wear a cloth face covering, not complying with social distancing or sneeze and cough etiquette, and refusing to implement other health and safety measures as required by the university. Additionally, the instructor, in consultation with the department chair/school director, may refer the student to the Dean of Students Office for further disciplinary review. Such reviews may result in consequences ranging from warnings to sanctions from the university.
For more information regarding conduct in the classroom, please review the following policies at https://policies.txstate.edu/division-policies/academic-affairs/02-03-02.html, Section 03: Courteous and Civil Learning Environment, and https://studenthandbook.txstate.edu/rules-and-policies/code-of-student-conduct.html, number II, Responsibilities of Students, Section 02.02: Conduct Prohibited.
Faculty and staff who do not conform to the requirement will be referred for further disciplinary action as needed.
Additional federal, state, or local face covering rules, laws or mandates may serve to increase the situations where masks are required on our campuses, but our requirement serves as a baseline and will apply even if face coverings are not required off of our campuses. Civil or criminal penalties for failing to wear a face covering, if enacted, would be in addition to applicable employee discipline or student judicial processes.
We understand some people may disapprove of wearing a mask. While the university respects those individual opinions, research has shown that wearing a face mask is the most important, and a potentially life-saving, tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. We did not take the decision to require face coverings lightly. In the interest of public health, however, we are committed to this practice for the greater good of the community.
Some people who disagree with the concept of requiring face coverings have called it “unconstitutional.” However, to be unconstitutional, a restriction must infringe a fundamental right such as freedom of speech or invasion of privacy or otherwise treat people unequally. Requiring all of us to wear a face covering on campus when it’s not possible to practice physical distancing is a narrowly tailored and minimally intrusive mechanism, which is justified by the significance of the university’s interest in helping to stop the spread of a highly contagious and deadly virus for the safety of the campus community.
Research and literature on the effectiveness of facemasks on coronaviruses can be found here.
*Information provided in the Roadmap may change or be updated as needed to respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation.