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Face Covering Policy: Crookston Campus

Updated: July 23 2020, 5:30 p.m.

  • General: Information about the face covering protocol
  • Indoors: Requirements specific to indoor spaces
  • Outdoors: Requirements specific to outdoor spaces
  • Housing/Dining: Information about mask wearing when you live and eat on campus
  • Faculty: Information specific to teaching and conducting research at the University
  • Student Affairs Educators and Related Professional Staff: Information relevant to co-curricular educational experiences in Student Affairs and other professional services offices
  • Workspaces: Information for those working at the University
  • Accommodations: Information for those who may need an accommodation to the mask requirement
  • Compliance: Information about how this requirement will be implemented

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General Information

Q: What is the University’s stance on face coverings?
A: Scientific understanding of the transmission of COVID-19 has evolved, and we now know that wearing a simple face covering provides valuable, albeit imperfect, protection against the spread of COVID-19. As a result, face coverings have been required for nearly a month in all University of Minnesota buildings and outdoors on our grounds when physical distancing cannot be maintained. On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order implementing a statewide face covering mandate for all Minnesotans. We expect all of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors to comply with the Governor’s mandate and University efforts to help keep our community safe.

Q: How are face coverings part of a larger effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A: At the University, we are a community. We are all part of the solution and can help keep each other safe. Face coverings are just one part of a community strategy to protect yourself, your fellow students, staff, faculty, and our community. Please read the commentary from Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of our Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), in which he details why face coverings are an important part of the equation to reduce pandemic spread.

Q: Why are you mandating face coverings when scientists and experts disagree on their effectiveness in many settings?
A: As scientists continue to learn about COVID-19, their research evolves (see commentary from Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of our Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)). We now know that wearing a simple face covering provides valuable, albeit imperfect, protection against the spread of COVID-19, especially when paired with measures such as washing your hands, using hand sanitizers, disinfecting spaces, maintaining physical distance when possible, and limiting the durations of interactions. Face coverings are also a visual reminder that we must all take precautions to protect our own health and the health of those around us. The CDC has more information available regarding the research. 

Q: To whom does the face covering protocol apply?
A: All University of Minnesota staff, students and visitors, including contractors, service providers, vendors, and suppliers. This protocol does not apply to children under the age of 2 years, anyone unable to remove a face covering without assistance, and anyone who cannot wear a face covering because of health or disability reasons. Individuals who cannot wear face coverings because of health or disability reasons should register with the Disability Resource Center to explore alternative accommodations.

Q: What type of face covering is acceptable?
A: In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended face coverings can include simple cloth coverings, scarves or bandanas. Disposable paper masks are also acceptable. All face coverings must extend from the bridge of the nose to below the chin. N95 or surgical masks are not required nor should they be bought or worn by people outside of health care or other specialized settings, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The CDC recommends face coverings that:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • Are secured with ties or ear loops,
  • Include multiple layers of fabric,
  • Allow for breathing without restriction, and
  • Can be laundered and machine-dried without damaging them or changing their shape.

Q: Is a face shield an appropriate alternative to a cloth face covering or mask?
A: Yes. In some cases face shields may be an appropriate alternative, as advised by the Minnesota Department of Health. If you have a medical condition, please contact the Health Services Office. If you have a disability, please contact the Disability Resource Center.

Q: Will the University be supplying face coverings to students, faculty, and staff?
A: Yes. Faculty and staff will be provided masks through their college or unit. Specifically, UMN Crookston will provide two masks to each individual on campus, including faculty, staff and students. Mask distribution details are being developed and will be shared when more is known.

Q: Where can I get face coverings?
A: For immediate needs, departments can order masks from U Market Services. Larger quantities to satisfy return to campus for the fall will be distributed in late July or early August.

Q: Do I have to wear a University-provided mask to comply with this requirement?
A: No, you may also wear a cloth covering, such as a scarf or bandana, or a face shield (if needed as an accommodation) that covers your nose and mouth.

Q: What recommendations do you have for properly utilizing face coverings?
A: University Health and Safety has guidelines for properly wearing cloth masks. All face coverings must extend from the bridge of the nose to below the chin. The CDC also has information about face masks available online.

Q: Does wearing a mask reduce the need for physical distancing?
A: No. Physical distancing guidelines, as provided in the Sunrise Plan, are to be used in tandem with face coverings and other COVID-19 prevention practices. Guidelines include maintaining six feet of distance between you and others, avoiding group gatherings and confined areas, and avoiding use of other people’s equipment and workstations.


Indoors: Requirements specific to indoor spaces

Q: Are there exceptions when face coverings would not be required indoors?
A: Face coverings are not required under the following circumstances:

  • A room when only one individual is present.
  • Indoor spaces where separate official guidance is posted.
  • When eating or drinking; however, physical distancing must be observed.
  • In your own on-campus residence hall or apartment room. Please note: face coverings are still required in common spaces (hallways, bathrooms, dining, etc.).
  • When unable to wear a face covering while exercising in the Wellness Center or within athletics facilities, as long as all other facility policies, rules and guidelines are followed.
  • When alone in a motor vehicle.
  • If an individual has a medical condition that makes wearing a face covering difficult or impossible, please contact Health Services for assistance with identifying alternative accommodations.
  • If an individual has a disability that makes wearing a face covering difficult or impossible. Please contact Disability Resource Center for assistance with identifying alternative accommodations.
  • Students who wish to request a religious accommodation should contact Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu).  Employees should contact Jonathon Fuller, Director of Human Resources (fulle423@crk.umn.edu).

Q: What are the requirements for face coverings on University transit services? 
A: University cars, vans and bus services require passengers to wear a face covering. Any cloth covering is acceptable. 

Q: If I’m expecting a visitor or family member to my work space or campus residence (dorms, apartments), what is the requirement for them?
A: All visitors to the campus are required to wear a face covering when indoors unless they have a disability or medical condition that prevents them from doing so. If you or a guest has a medical condition, please contact the Health Services Office. If you or a guest has a disability, please contact the Disability Resource Center. If your guest wishes to request a religious accommodation, please contact Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu).


Outdoors: Requirements specific to outdoor spaces

Q: Are there any outdoor settings where face coverings will be required?
A: In situations where effective physical distancing cannot be achieved, and large groups of individuals will be gathering for extended periods, face coverings are required.

Q: Are there any outdoor settings where face coverings are not required?
A: Where safe physical distancing and small groups are in place, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required.


Housing/Dining

Information about mask wearing when you live and eat on campus

Q: Am I required to wear a face covering in my on-campus residence hall room?
A: No, if you are alone in a room. However, face covering are required in common areas such as hallways, study spaces, lobbies, bathrooms, or dining facilities. If you have a roommate or roommates, we strongly encourage you to establish shared expectations for your room or apartment. Your CA can assist with this process.

Q: How about in my off-campus residence?
A: Face coverings are strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in any indoor space but the University cannot require face coverings in spaces off campus that it does not own. If you have a roommate, we strongly encourage you to establish shared expectations for your living quarters.

Q: Do I need to wear a face covering outdoors or walking to/from class or other on-campus locations?
A: It depends. Face coverings are required in outdoor settings on University campuses or other grounds if safe physical distancing and limited gathering requirements are not being observed. Where safe physical distancing and gathering practices are being observed, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required.

Q: If my on-campus roommates or neighbors refuse to wear a face covering and/or follow other public health recommendations, what should I do?
A: The first step is always to talk to them about wearing a face covering from a caring, social enforcement approach. For example, you could say something like, “Hey, I know you aren’t wearing a mask, but remember we all agreed to wear these to protect ourselves and each other. I’m feeling stress related to this. Would you be willing to wear a mask so that we can all be safe together?

  1. If the person refuses to comply after you have asked them to wear a face covering, please seek out a CA or Residence Life Area Coordinator to assist you with next steps.
  2. Please remember that some individuals may be unable to wear a face covering because of health or disability reasons.

Q: What is required in dining facilities or on-campus restaurants? Will exceptions be made while eating/drinking?
A: Face coverings are required when you are in dining facilities and on-campus restaurants, except while eating and drinking. Regardless, physical distancing must be observed.


Faculty

Information specific to teaching and conducting research at the University

Q: Should my syllabus state that face coverings are required?
A: Now that face coverings are required indoors, you do not need to explicitly state that they are required in your syllabus. However, you may want to reiterate that you expect students to comply with all University public health policies, including the wearing of face coverings.

Q: A student in my class is not wearing a face covering. What should I do?

  • Talk with the student to inform them of their available options to comply with the face covering policy or to pursue an accommodation for a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering.
      • If the student wishes to pursue an accommodation for reasons related to health or a disability, ask them to leave class and direct them to either the Disability Resource Center or Student Health Services where professionals will engage with the student to identify reasonable accommodations. Students who wish to request a religious accommodation should contact Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu).
      • If not, ask the student to put on a face covering for class as part of upholding our Teaching and Learning Instructor and Unit Responsibilities policy for a safe classroom environment:
        • Sample language: "We are a community within close proximity of each other, working together to keep each other safe. Can you put yours on please? If you don't have one, you can get one in Student Health Services, but please remember it for the next class, ok?"
    • If the student refuses, the instructor can ask the student to leave for the class session. Following class, the instructor will follow up with an email to the student reiterating expectations (including a reminder of the University face covering expectations, the Teaching and Learning: Student Responsibilities, and the Student Conduct Code) and stating that in order for them to participate in-person, they need to comply with the policy. The instructor will also let the student know that if this happens again, the student will be asked to leave class and the instructor will submit a report to the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness for student conduct review.
    • There may be instances in which a student forgets to wear their face covering more than one time. It is up to the instructor’s discretion to determine if the student is unwilling to comply or simply forgot and needs a subsequent reminder. At any point, the instructor is encouraged to have an educational conversation if the student repeatedly forgets but willfully complies when reminded.
        • If a second offense occurs, the instructor will ask the student to leave class and the instructor will submit a report to the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness for conduct review. A second offense will result in a non-disciplinary warning letter to the student (copy to the instructor) stating that if the student does not comply with the directive to wear a mask they will be charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code.
        • If subsequent offenses occur, the faculty member will report the behavior to the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness for disciplinary action.

      Q: A student in my class is wearing something over their face, but it does not appear to be a face covering that is sufficient (i.e., doesn’t cover their nose, overly porous material). What should I do?
      A: See the answer in the previous question.

      Q: A student not wearing a face covering says that they have a disability or medical condition that precludes from wearing a face covering or they have been approved for a religious accommodation. What should I do to accommodate them?
      A: Provide them the contact information for the Disability Resource Center or Student Health Services, which will evaluate their condition and explore alternative accommodations. For religious accommodations, consult with Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu). These offices may verify with the instructor that a student does not have to wear a facial covering, but they will not disclose the reason.

      Q: Can I set the policy in my lab or research space for face coverings?
      A: Yes, so long as it is consistent with the protocol outlined here, i.e., indoor face covering usage is required unless the space is clearly occupied by only a single individual.

      Q: Someone in my class has shown up with a face covering that contains a message or symbol that is offensive or threatening. What can I do?
      A: You have a few options. One is to engage your student by asking them about the message and letting them know that you find it offensive. If you feel uncomfortable having a conversation yourself, you can get help by contacting Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu). Your concern will be reviewed for any relevant policy violations and if there are none, the person you reported will still be notified of your concern and invited to discuss it.

      Q: Are face coverings required when I’m working in my office/lab/workspace alone?
      A: No, as long as you are confident that the space will not be occupied by others while you are there or very shortly after your departure.


      Student Affairs Educators and Related Professional Staff

      Information relevant to co-curricular educational experiences in Student Affairs (athletics, enrollment management, student engagement and wellness, student success) and other professional services offices (e.g. the Office of the Registrar, the Library, the Office of Information Technology).

      Q: A student in the residence halls, one who comes to a co-curricular educational program/event, or one who comes to my office is not wearing a face covering. What should I do?

      • Talk with the student to inform them of their available options to comply with the face covering policy or to pursue an accommodation for a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering.
        • If the student wishes to pursue an accommodation for reasons related to health or a disability, ask them to leave the event/your office and direct them to either the Disability Resource Center or Student Health Services where professionals will engage with the student to identify reasonable accommodations. Students who wish to request a religious accommodation should contact Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu).
        • If not, ask the student to put on a face covering while outside their room but within the residence halls, for the educational program, or while in your office in order to comply with the face covering policy:
          • Sample language: "We are a community within close proximity of each other, working together to keep each other safe. Can you put yours on please? If you don't have one, you can get one in Student Health Services, but please remember it for the next class, ok?"
      • If the student refuses, you can ask the student to leave the program, the event, or your office; within the residence halls, you could contact a CA, a Residence Life Area Coordinator, or Security Staff.

        • Within the residence halls, CAs will refer these types of instances to a Residence Life Area Coordinator. CAs may initially follow up with an email reminder to document their interaction with the student. Students should be informed that if this happens again, the student will be reported to Residence Life Area Coordinator and/or the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness for student conduct review.
        • In other areas, student affairs educators/professional staff should follow up with an email to the student reiterating expectations (including a reminder of the University face covering expectations) and state that in order for them to participate in-person in the future, they need to comply with the policy. You should also let the student know that if this happens again, the student will be asked to leave and you will submit a report to the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness for student conduct review.
      • There may be instances in which a student forgets to wear their face covering more than one time. It is up to your professional discretion to determine if the student is unwilling to comply or simply forgot and needs a subsequent reminder (CAs should consult with Residence Life Area Coordinators). At any point, student affairs educators and professional staff are encouraged to have an educational conversation if the student repeatedly forgets but willfully complies when reminded.

        • If a second offense occurs, student affairs educators should ask the student to leave the event/office and then submit a report to the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness for conduct review. Within the residence halls, a formal report should be submitted to the Residence Hall Area Coordinator. A second offense will result in a non-disciplinary warning letter to the student stating that if the student does not comply with the directive to wear a mask they will be charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code.
        • If subsequent offenses occur, you should report the behavior to the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness for disciplinary action.

      Q: A student in my residence hall/program/event/office is wearing something over their face, but it does not appear to be a face covering that is sufficient (i.e., doesn’t cover their nose, overly porous material). What should I do?
      A: See the answer in the previous question.

      Q: A student not wearing a face covering says that they have a disability or medical condition that precludes from wearing a face covering. What should I do to accommodate them?
      A: Provide them the contact information for the Disability Resource Center or Student Health Services, which will evaluate their condition and explore alternative accommodations. For religious accommodations, consult with Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu). These offices may verify with the instructor that a student does not have to wear a facial covering, but they will not disclose the reason.

      Q: Someone in my residence hall/program/event/office has shown up with a face covering that contains a message or symbol that is offensive or threatening. What can I do?
      A: You have a few options. One is to engage your student by asking them about the message and letting them know that you find it offensive. If you feel uncomfortable having a conversation yourself, you can get help by contacting the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness. Your concern will be reviewed for any relevant policy violations and if there are none, the person you reported will still be notified of your concern and invited to discuss it.

      Q: Are face coverings required when I’m working in my office/workspace alone?
      A: No, as long as you are confident that the space will not be occupied by others while you are there or very shortly after your departure.

      Q: Are students required to wear a face covering in their residence hall room or apartment?
      A: No, though students within a room or apartment may establish norms for their living spaces. CAs can assist with this process.


      Workspaces

      Information for those working at the University

      Q: Will faculty or staff be allowed to enter the workplace without a face covering?
      A: No. All faculty and staff are expected to wear a face covering as directed when on campus whether working in a campus facility, or outside where physical distancing and gathering size limitations are not being observed.

      Q: Are face coverings required when I’m working in my office/lab/workspace alone?
      A: No. Face coverings are not required when alone in a room or where permitted by an official University notice posted in the space. You should receive clear instruction from your leadership if this may be allowed in your area before deciding to not wear a face covering.

      Q: A faculty or staff member that I supervise is not wearing a mask or other face covering. What should I do?
      A: Meet with the individual one-on-one and have a private, respectful conversation in which you explain the face covering requirement. If the person has a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering or they otherwise wish to seek accommodations, they should consult with their human resources representative or contact Disability Resource Center to explore potential alternatives. If there is no medical condition or disability, provide them with a mask and request they start to wear it immediately. If the staff or faculty member has another reason such as religious objection, they should contact Human Resources, which will work with them to determine what accommodations may be possible.

      Q: My supervisor or colleague is not wearing a face covering. What should I do?
      A: Politely ask that your coworker or supervisor wear a face covering. If they are not following the University’s direction, this can be immediately reported to your department manager, senior leader, or Human Resources.

      Q: What are the consequences of not wearing a face covering?
      A: If a faculty or staff member refuses to wear a face covering, their supervisor should first support the individual’s ability to cooperate with face covering guidelines through education/coaching and problem solving, such as explaining the benefits of face coverings, and providing a mask to an employee who has forgotten a face covering or was unable to purchase one. If staff or faculty continue to refuse, supervisors must deal with this as a performance or misconduct issue.


      Accommodations

      Q: Who can advise me if I need an accommodation or if I’m a supervisor needing guidance about potential accommodations?
      A: Employees or supervisors should contact their college or unit human resources representative about seeking accommodations. HR representatives will contact the Disability Resource Center to explore potential accommodations.

      Q: Who can help if I cannot wear a face covering due to a disability or medical condition?
      A: The Disability Resource Center or Health Services are available to help you explore alternative accommodations.

      Q: Who can help if I wish to request a religious accommodation?
      A: Students who wish to request a religious accommodation should contact Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu). Employees should contact Jonathon Fuller, Director of Human Resources (fulle423@crk.umn.edu)

      Q: I have experienced discrimination based on my need for accommodations. What should I do?
      A: We understand that a directive to wear a face covering may exacerbate implicit biases and existing stereotypes. All members of the University community should avoid stigmatizing others because they are wearing or not wearing face coverings. If you are experiencing such discrimination or criticism, please contact human resources or the UMN Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

      Q: Are there religious or other reasons that alternative accommodations may be needed?
      A: Yes, it is possible. Please discuss the need for alternative accommodations with a human resources representative or the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office. Students may speak with Dr. Savala DeVoge, Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (devog007@crk.umn.edu).


      Compliance

      Q: What should I do if I observe others not complying with this requirement?
      A: The University expects the University community to behave responsibly with respect for the health and safety of others. We are a community. We can help keep each other safe and we all need to be part of the solution. Staff and students should not attempt to directly enforce this directive but instead should share any concerns of suspected violations with their immediate supervisor or appropriate school official.

      Q: Is it appropriate for me to remind someone in an indoor space with me of the face covering requirement? To politely ask them to put a face covering on?
      A: In some instances, it may be appropriate to politely ask others to observe the face covering protocol. However, be careful to avoid stigmatizing other members of the community. Recognize that some members of our community may be exempt from the face coverings requirement or may be utilizing accommodations. Above all, be patient and kind with others as we work together to keep our campus community safe and healthy.

      Q: Where can I find the full face covering protocol?
      A: It is posted on the Return to Campus website.

      Q: Will people be disciplined for not wearing a face covering?
      A: Compliance with the face covering protocol is expected. Our first preference is to handle this with a conversation and a social enforcement approach, but University community members who repeatedly disregard this expectation will be referred to human resources or to offices that engage in student conduct for follow up. As with other University regulations, failure to comply may result in disciplinary action through the appropriate supervisor (for employees) and the Dean of Student Engagement and Wellness (for students).

      Questions regarding exceptions to the face covering directive may be directed to those offices, which will then consult with other appropriate University offices/officials as necessary when evaluating requests for an exemption.

      Q: Where can I find assistance in resolving disputes?
      A: The Office of Student Engagement offers resources for those who need assistance dealing with conflicts involving students on campus. Community members may request to pursue these resources in lieu of filing a formal student conduct complaint relevant to not following rules around wearing a face covering indoors, in the classroom.

      Human Resources offers assistance for those who need assistance dealing with conflicts involving employees.

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