Face masks have proven very effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.
- Per standing guidance from Governor Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-36 issued on May 18, 2021, and confirmed by The Texas State University System Office of General Counsel, Texas State is not able to require face coverings.
- We strongly urge that everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear face coverings indoors.
- Face coverings are not necessary outdoors but are urged for unvaccinated persons in crowded settings.
- We want our guests to feel safe and comfortable; so, face coverings are welcome. While offices cannot require that face coverings be worn, you may ask patrons/guests not wearing a face covering in your office suite if they would like a face covering.
- Office managers may place an order for face coverings by completing the COVID-19 Department Order Form.
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
Latest update regarding masks and face coverings (02/03/2021):
- KN95 Masks: KN95 masks are the equivalent of N95 masks needed by healthcare professionals in this country. Since the supply of KN95 masks is very good now, the public may also purchase these masks for personal use. The quality of KN95 masks can vary significantly. Searching for KN95 masks that are on the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) list is one way to ensure a quality product. Access the FDA Personal Protective Equipment EAU’s list here and go to Appendix A on the webpage.
- Double masking: Double masking provides about 90% filtration efficiency—almost as much as the 95% filtration efficiency of N95 or KN95 masks but at a much lower cost. The best strategy is to use a procedure/surgical mask initially and then add a second flexible cloth mask that covers the face well and is snug around the cheeks and nose.
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.
- Employees are responsible for providing their own face masks.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) is available 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.
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.