Temporary COVID-19 Masking Protocols

  1. Authorization

    The following protocols have been approved in accordance with Towson University (“TU”) policies and local, state and University System of Maryland (“USM”) guidance.

  2. General Overview

    Following local, state, federal, CDC and USM guidance, TU has revised the following Temporary COVID-19 Masking Protocols for operations in the current environment. Unless otherwise indicated below, all other existing related university policies, procedures and practices remain in effect as written. Unless otherwise indicated below, all other existing related university policies, procedures and practices remain in effect as written.

  3. Masking Protocols

    1. Effective August 16, masks or face coverings are required for all students, faculty, staff, contractors, volunteers, guests, and visitors inside any and all TU buildings, facilities to include, but not be limited to:

      • All academic buildings including classrooms, labs, and common areas. This is inclusive of all lecturing, teaching and learning activities, and
      • All non-academic and administrative buildings and work spaces which are open such as cubicles, meeting rooms, lobbies, waiting areas and restrooms;
      • NOTE: A face mask/face covering may not be vented and must still be worn even if there is a plexiglass barrier present or a face shield is being worn.
    2. Effective August 16, masks or face coverings are required for all students, faculty, staff, contractors, volunteers, guests, and visitors inside any and all TU transportation vehicles, such as Shuttle Bus Service, Paratransit or SafeRide.

    3. Mask Exceptions

      • Time spent in an office or room alone or in a residence hall room alone or with a roommate, with a closed door;
      • Actively eating or drinking
      • Participating in musical, theatrical or other performances for which wearing a mask is not feasible, performing a strenuous exercise required by a course syllabus, including, but not limited to dancing and/or singing;
      • Participating in sanctioned team sports or athletic activities, including strenuous exercise, that are not conducive to mask wearing; or
      • Performing other such required job duties that necessitate removal of the mask/face covering, while practicing physical distancing, as practicable, including patient care spaces at the discretion of the healthcare provider.
      • NOTE: The presence of a plexiglass barrier or the wearing of a face shield does NOT substitute for the wearing of a mask or face covering.
    4. General Exemptions to Masking Requirements

      Masks/face coverings should not be placed on:

      • Anyone who has trouble breathing;
      • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance;
      • Anyone that is unable to wear a mask/face covering due to a qualifying disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); or
      • Children younger than 2 years old.
    5. Criteria for Types of Masks/Face Coverings

      While TU will provide masks for anyone who does not have one, individuals are encouraged to supply their own mask or face covering for regular daily use. TU will also maintain a supply of masks that have clear panels and/or face shields to allow for lip reading or other necessary modes of nonverbal communication.

      Recognizing that masks or face coverings may vary, all must:

      • Fit snugly and comfortably against the side of the face;
      • Be secured with ties, strap(s) or ear loops OR be continuous piece of cloth that encircles the head while covering the nose and mouth;
      • Cover the mouth AND nose (no mesh or open holes) and extend below the chin;
      • Allow for breathing without restriction;
      • Be able to be laundered without damage or change to shape; and
      • Be consistent with USM Personnel Policy on Professional Conduct for Nonexempt and Exempt Staff, and/or the TU Code of Student Conduct.
    6. Proper Care of Masks/Face Coverings

      It is expected that each person will care, store and launder/clean their own mask or face covering. This should include:

      • Avoid touching the mask or face covering and to wash their hands frequently to prevent contamination;
      • Storing the mask or face covering in a paper bag when not in use;
      • Washing a cloth mask or face covering after each daily use;
      • Immediately replacing any mask or face covering that is soiled, damaged (ripped, punctured, broken strap(s), etc.), or visibly contaminated; and
      • Limiting use of a disposable mask or face covering to no more than one per day.
    7. Non-Compliance with Masking Protocols

      Failure to comply with these protocols places our campus community at risk for spreading COVID-19, which could endanger community health and further disrupt educational activities. Failure by any individual or groups of individuals can result in limitation of access and/or the shutdown of facilities or activities where non-compliance occurs.Non-compliance with this or other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines may result in suspension of access to the applicable facility for a period of time and/or corrective/disciplinary action depending on the severity and/or frequency of the non-compliance. Any consideration regarding possible corrective/disciplinary action must be made in consultation with Human Resources for faculty/staff or with Student Affairs for students. Issues with non-compliance of contract workers should be referred to the Human Resources department for follow-up.
  4. Duration of Protocols

    These masking protocols will be in effect until further notice. The evaluation of the need to further modify these protocols or implement additional practice modifications will be continuous. The decision regarding when and under what conditions these protocols will be further modified or rescinded will be based upon the evaluation of information and guidance received from federal, state, and local government and prevailing health authorities.

Established on July 2, 2020; Modified on May 4, 2021; Modified May 25, 2021; July 30, 2021; August 16, 2021