students wearing masks

Texas A&M Face Covering Guidance

Updated: August 27, 2021, 3 p.m. CDT

The health and safety of the Aggies (students, faculty, and staff), especially of vulnerable individuals, is of paramount importance. The primary purpose of wearing a face covering is to reduce the amount of virus spreading from the wearer (who may not know they are spreading the virus) into the environment and to others. The secondary purpose of the face covering is to reduce the likelihood that large droplets containing virus that are generated by others may enter the nose and mouth of the wearer. Within indoor spaces, the use of a face covering does not replace the recommendation to maintain physical distances from others. While physical distancing may not always be possible, at least 6 feet of physical distancing is still recommended. Following CDC guidance, and to protect your fellow Aggies against COVID-19:

  1. All vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings (cloth face covering, surgical mask, etc.) in indoor public areas on campus (includes all non-private office or residential spaces such as lobbies, restrooms, classrooms, teaching laboratories, research laboratories, common spaces in residence halls, conference rooms, and break rooms). Disposable filtering facepiece respirators, such as KN95 and N95s are appropriate.
  2. All vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings (cloth face covering, surgical mask, etc.) in outdoor spaces where 6 feet of physical distancing is difficult to reliably maintain

General Questions

  • What is a face covering?

    Definition of a Face Covering (Face Mask): According to CDC guidance and Texas A&M University, for the purpose of the COVID-19 pandemic an effective cloth face covering will:

    • Include multiple layers of tightly woven fabric
    • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
    • Be secured with ties, ear loops, or wrap around the head (such as gaiter style masks)
    • Allow for breathing without restriction
    • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape or be disposable

    For cloth face coverings, the following would not be appropriate:

    • Hosiery, gauze, hand knit/crochet, and other loosely woven materials
    • Holding a towel, t-shirt, or other non-secured item over your face. Any face covering with an exhalation valve does not meet the standards of this policy as they allow particles to exhaust from the wearer.

    FDA-approved surgical masks may also be used as a face covering.

  • What is the purpose of the face covering?

    Wearing a face covering is about protecting others and our Aggie Community. Those with COVID-19, even those who do not know they have COVID-19, naturally expel droplets contaminated with the virus that causes COVID-19 when breathing, talking, sneezing, coughing, etc.  Wearing a face covering in public shows you care enough to protect others. Additionally, limiting virus spread allows the campus to continue normal operations, including face-to-face classes without the need to return to full remote instruction.

  • Who should provide face coverings to faculty and staff? To students? To visitors or contractors?

    It is the responsibility of the individual to provide their own face covering. However, each unit may keep a small amount of disposable face coverings on hand for visitors.

  • Are there limits to the design of the face covering?

    The policy on Expressive Activity on Campus (08.99.99.M1) states: “Displaying a sign, gesturing, wearing symbolic clothing or otherwise protesting silently is permissible unless it is a disruptive activity or impedes access.” Disruptive activity is defined as obstruction, disruption or interference with classes, research, administrative functions or other university activities. Acts that are disruptive to the normal operations of the university, including classes and university business, or that invade the rights of others, will not be tolerated.