Additional Information on Masks
[Updated August 13, 2020]
The College has received several questions from students and employees on guidelines for masks/face coverings. The following outline provides guidance for students and employees. It will be updated as needed.
- Except when a student is in their room or an employee is alone in their individual office space, a mask should be worn on campus.
- The College recognizes and respects that some individuals may not be able to wear a mask due a health condition, however, because the current pandemic constitutes a direct threat to the health and safety of others, individuals who cannot wear a mask will not be allowed on campus at this time.
- The CDC has stated that masks with exhalation valves or vents are not recommended because the purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others and masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. Therefore, the College is advising students and employees to discontinue the use of masks with one-way exhalation valves or vents as they may constitute a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
- Health professionals have indicated that bandanas offer minimal protection, however, bandanas do offer some protection when combined with physical distancing of 6 feet. So, while the College encourages people to consider using a disposable mask or one of the Stonehill-branded masks being provided for free, the College is not prohibiting the use of bandanas.
- Recent news articles inaccurately portrayed the results of a university study stating that gaiter-styled masks were not effective. However, the study actually consisted of only a preliminary modeling test on a single style of gaiter. Medical professionals have in fact recognized that cloth masks that are made with multiple layers and high thread count cottons are effective. The College’s branded mask and gaiter were designed with these considerations in mind. The university study did suggest that single layer gaiters or gaiters made only of synthetic or fleece materials are not good choices and the College does agree with this conclusion.
- The College considers the common disposable masks an effective, acceptable mask.
- A plastic face shield is not an acceptable substitute for a mask. However, a clear face mask, or plastic mask which is designed to prevent the escape of respiratory droplets and incorporates a respiratory droplet barrier is an acceptable alternative to a cloth mask. The College does not endorse a particular brand, but the following are plastic masks/shields which do incorporate a “droplet barrier component”:
- The FDA has offered some guidance on the use of 3d printed masks. The College cannot recommend the use of any particular 3d printed masks as reliability of the mask depends greatly on the printer, materials, and technique used in printing, however, additional information is available at: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/3d-printing-medical-devices-accessories-components-and-parts-during-covid-19-pandemic
- Additional information on masks is available on the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html