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Type: University Policy
Division: Shared Values & Standards of Conduct
Classification: GOVERNANCE & LEGAL

Contact Phone Number: 503-838-8919
Contact Email Address: mcdonald@wou.edu

Use of Face Coverings During COVID-19 Pandemic
Vice President & General Counsel Associate Vice President for Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in alignment with the Oregon Governor’s executive orders, and consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority (“OHA”) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), Western Oregon University issued its face covering policy on July 27, 2020.  It applies to all Western Oregon University locations, including, but not limited to its Monmouth and Salem locations, and serves the university’s goal to help reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19. This university policy was last updated om July 27, 2020 and may be revised or rescinded subsequently to align with federal, state, and local guidance as the public health response evolves. 

WOU requires employees (faculty and staff), students, visitors, contractors, and volunteers at both its Monmouth and Salem campuses to use face coverings, which include paper or cloth masks, medical-grade masks, or face shields, when in enclosed public and common areas on campus and outdoor areas where physical distancing of at least six (6) feet is not easily maintained, unless an exception is met.  Face coverings should be worn in combination with other measures, such as strict physical distancing and proper hand washing.

When used with standard distancing and hygiene measures, face coverings serve as a central public health measure to reduce the spread of infection across all university settings. Face coverings are particularly important in spaces where physical distancing may be difficult, or when working in enclosed spaces shared by other people, with the exception of immediate family or household members (e.g., partner, child, or parents).

While cloth face coverings will not provide full protection for individuals wearing them, those that cover the nose and mouth in ways consistent with health authority guidelines will help prevent the spread of the virus in the community when used in combination with physical distancing and proper hand washing.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROCEDURES describes general guidelines meant to further articulate the practical application of this policy.  Specific circumstances will determine where and when face coverings are warranted.

Employees (faculty and staff), students, visitors, contractors, and volunteers


This university policy is issued to contribute to the health and safety of the WOU community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to align with federal and state regulations, executive orders, and guidance.


University settings that will require the use of face coverings:

* Spaces where physical distancing of at least six (6) feet cannot be met (e.g., hallways, doorways, elevators, stairwells);

* In-person classroom settings;

* Student Health and Counseling Center; 

* Shared lab spaces, including computer labs;

* Valstez Dining Hall, The Summit, coffee shops and cafes and other retail areas;

* Common areas within University-owned and leased buildings;

* High-density shared outdoor spaces where physical distancing of at least six (6) feet cannot be met (e.g., Hamersly Library, WUC Terrace; outside space adjacent to the Richard Woodcock Education Center);

* Day camps and Childcare Center;

* WOLFRIDE and other University-owned vehicles with more than one (1) occupant; and,

* Other spaces as designated by the president or designee.


Exceptions to the use of face coverings:

Exceptions to this University policy include:

* Use goes against documented industry best practices for a specific position, or by law or regulation, including the use of standard personal protective equipment (“PPE”) per Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards;

* When working alone in an enclosed workspace; 

* When exercising and working outdoors where physical distancing of at least six (6) feet can be maintained at all times; 

* When an individual is under the age of two (2);

* In situations where face coverings for minors are advised against and not required for participation in youth activities, as per Oregon Health Authority (OHA);

* When an individual is unable to remove the covering without assistance; 

* Individuals with documented medical conditions that prohibit them from wearing any face covering, whether it be a cloth face covering, medical-grade mask or face shield; and;

* Where space can be designed to provide for adequate barriers.

* Additional exceptions may be issued on a case-by-case basis by the president or designee.



It is prohibited for any individual to be restricted access or participation based on not wearing a face covering if the individual states that they are aware of this policy and believe they meet an exception to this policy. Individuals who refuse to wear a face covering or alternative in designated University spaces may be referred to remote-only service.


The university will post signage clearly stating face covering requirements, including access to services for faculty, staff, students, contractors, volunteers, and visitors. The university will make face coverings available to those who do not have one.


Additional Information: 

This policy will and may be amended if regulatory conditions change or guidance from health authorities evolves. This may include local or state-level laws or guidance related to business practices (e.g., food service, childcare).


WOU may transition from a requirement to a recommended use of cloth face coverings based on local conditions and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OHA, and local health authorities.


WOU will provide current employees and students who are physically present at a WOU location with a cloth face mask as a supplement to their personal supply.


WOU will continue to follow OSHA and industry guidance related to workplace safety (e.g., safe clean protocols for custodial workers or face coverings indicated for food services workers).


WOU will provide employees and students alternatives to face coverings, such as face shields, if such alternatives are needed or required.


Individuals who engage in harassing, discriminatory, bullying, or retaliatory conduct towards those because they are or are not wearing a face covering may be subject to investigation and sanction under other applicable WOU policies.


WOU will issue clarifying guidance periodically to assist specific populations or stakeholders to answer questions and/or implement the requirements of the policy.  Examples include, but are not limited to, how employees or students may request and document exceptions and how students or employees may report conditions or circumstances contrary to this policy.



WOU COVID-19 Resources and Updates: https://wou.edu/coronavirus/ 

CDC guidance on wearing cloth face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

WOU COVID-19 Resources and Updates
APPROVAL DATE: 07/16/2020
EFFECTIVE DATE: 07/16/2020
LAST UPDATED: 07/16/2020



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