COVID- 19 Public Health and Safety Precautions – Face Coverings

I. Scope

This policy applies to all George Mason University (“Mason” or “University”) employees, students, volunteers, contractors, employees of contractors, visitors, and any other individual on University Property, who are 2 years and older.

II. Policy Statement

The University has established requirements for wearing Face Coverings while on University Property, in University Facilities, or participating in person in University classes, events, programs, and activities.

The University has developed a color coded tiered system for Face Covering requirements.  This system provides the specific requirements regarding who must wear Face Coverings and where Face Coverings must be worn depending on the tier level set by the University.  The tier levels and corresponding requirements are documented in the University’s Face Covering Procedures Document and incorporated here by reference.  The tier level and Face Covering requirements are subject to change.

III. Definitions

Event: Any gathering of individuals organized by a University department, student organization, or external entity.

Face Covering (Face Mask): The most common types of masks include the following. Additional information regarding types of face coverings can be found in Appendix A.

  1. Cloth Face-Coverings: These can be purchased or made at home from cotton or other breathable and washable material. They are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health primarily to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing spread of the virus from the wearer to They are not intended to provide protection from inhalation of small particles or virus aerosols. According to CDC guidance, an effective cloth face covering will:

Fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face;

Cover both the mouth and the nose of the wearer and secure under the chin. Be secured with ties or ear loops;

Include multiple layers of fabric;

Allow for breathing without restriction; and

Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape

More specific guidance can be found in the CDC’s Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 guidance.

  1. Disposable Face Masks: Loose fitting disposable masks made of three or more layers of filtering material and meeting the same fit requirements listed above for cloth face coverings. Disposable face masks are designed to provide protection to others by reducing exposure to the saliva and respiratory secretions of the mask wearer. These masks are not primarily intended to provide protection from inhalation of small particles or virus aerosols. Medical face masks rated by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) also fall under this category of face coverings.
  2. ‘Respirators’ (including N95s): A respirator is a tight-fitted mask designed to reduce inhalation of small, aerosolized particles, including virus particles. Fit-testing is required and respirators are subject to regulation by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Fully Vaccinated: Individuals are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series Vaccine (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks after they have received a single-dose Vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson [J&J]/Janssen).

Physical (Social) Distancing: A public health practice designed to limit the spread of infection by requiring sufficient physical space (at least six feet) between individuals.

Singer’s Masks:  A singer’s mask is a reusable face covering, developed by music professionals, that helps to contain droplets while creating additional space around the mouth to enable the user to sing comfortably.

University Facility: Any indoor defined space owned or controlled by the University,

including a room, lab, series of labs, building, or vehicle.

University Property: Any Property owned, leased, or controlled by George Mason University.

Unvaccinated: Individual are considered unvaccinated for COVID-19 unless they meet the definition of “Fully Vaccinated” (i.e., two weeks have passed since they received the second dose in a two-dose series Vaccine or after they received a single-dose Vaccine).

Vaccine:  Any vaccine for COVID-19 that has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA or the WHO.

Volunteer: An individual permitted under specific conditions to perform activities on behalf of the University, but who is not an employee of George Mason University and, therefore, is not generally entitled to the benefits granted to employees.

IV. Compliance: 

  1. Safety, Emergency, & Enterprise Risk Management (SEERM) shall be responsible for setting the Face Covering Tier Level and providing notification to the University Community of the current tier level and corresponding requirements and any changes thereto. The university’s current tier level and corresponding face covering requirements will be posted on line at https://www2.gmu.edu/safe-return-campus
  1. Failure to comply with University Face Covering requirements may result in disciplinary action. Visitors and members of the general public who do not comply with University Face Covering requirements may be required to leave and may be permanently barred from entering University Facilities or University Property.  SEERM, in coordination with University Police, shall have the authority to enforce this policy as to visitors and members of the general public.
  2. Faculty, staff, and volunteers who have a disability that may prohibit the use of Face Coverings and would like to request an accommodation should contact the ADA Coordinator (ccombes@gmu.edu or (703) 993-8730). Employees of contractors should work with their   employer regarding accommodations.
  3. Students who have a disability that may prohibit the use of Face Coverings and would like to request an accommodation should contact Disability Services (ods@edu or (703) 993 2474).

V. Dates:

A. Effective Date:

This policy will become effective upon the date of approval by the Senior Vice President and       the Provost.

B. Date of Most Recent Review:

10/05/2021

VI. Timetable for Review

This policy shall be reviewed annually or as needed based on changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

VII. Signatures

Approved:

______/S________

Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance

______/S________

Provost and Executive Vice President

Date Approved: 7/30/2020

Revised: 10/20/2020

Revised: 11/20/2020

Revised: 04/01/2021

Revised: 5/07/2021

Revised: 5/29/2021

Revision Approved: 8/10/2021

Revised: 10/05/2021

Revised: 2/25/2022

Revised: 3/9/2022