Face-Covering Protocol

Face masks are required in all indoor spaces for everyone on the Purdue University Northwest campuses, including students, employees and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

This updated guidance follows CDC recommendations for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. Lake and La Porte counties both have been identified by the CDC as areas of substantial transmission. Support for this CDC recommendation is an important step to prevent illness and save lives.

A student in a PNW Honors College T-Shirt wearing a mask works on a laptop

PNW Face-Covering Protocol

  1. When you are in a building, hallway, classroom, laboratory, washroom, common area, you must wear a face covering.
  2. If you are faculty or staff member, and in your own private office, you do not have to wear a face covering. When you leave your office and are in the hallway, your face covering must be on. When you are visiting another Purdue Northwest office, you must wear a face covering.
  3. If you are outdoors, you do not have to wear a face covering.

Face-Covering Best Practices

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

N95 masks are a type of mask that has the ability to filter airborne particles, providing you with robust protection against Covid-19. The N95 mask you have from PNW is NOT healthcare grade.

N95 masks provide the highest quality mask protection against Covid-19, but they should also be worn and handled differently than other masks.

  1. An N95 mask should provide a tight seal around your nose and mouth. You should be able to breath comfortably while wearing it. Those with certain types of facial hair may have difficulty obtaining an appropriate seal and should chose a different type of mask.
  2. You can reuse your N95 mask as long as you take care of it and limit usage. Keep track of where you wear it and for how long. If you’ve been wearing it for shorter periods of time (3-4 hours) where you are able to remain physically distant from others, you can reuse your mask. If you have been in close proximity to a large group of people for more than 3-4 hours, then it is recommended to dispose of your mask after use.
  3. Proper storage between wears is important to ensure reusability of your N95 mask. Make sure to remove your N95 mask using clean hands, touching only the ear straps. If you touch the front, you can be touching virus particles. Putting the mask in a paper bag so it’s covered, is best.
  4. It is important to ensure your N95 mask is in good condition before each wear. Ensure there are no tears, gaps or evidence of soiling on the surface. If the N95 mask is loose on your face and no longer has a tight seal, it’s time to replace it. If your mask is visibly dirty you should dispose of it.
  5. You cannot use disinfectant or cleaning solutions on your N95 masks. You cannot place your N95 masks in the washing machine.
  6. N95 masks can be disposed in a regular trash receptacle.

Due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 being so contagious, it is recommended to wear two masks for greater protection. If one person is using a cloth mask over a surgical mask while the other person is not, it has been shown to block 85.4% of particles emitted during a cough.

Wear a well-fitting surgical mask (disposable mask) under a cloth mask (preferably a double layered cloth mask). Remember to dispose of your surgical masks after use and wash your cloth masks often.

  • Your face covering should allow for breathing without restriction
  • It should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face. The face covering should fit snugly around the mouth and nose. If the mask has a metal wire, it should be fitted snugly to the bridge of the nose.
  • Your face covering should be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Face coverings must not have exhalation valves (with the exception of medical personnel and Emergency Responders).
  • Before putting on a face covering, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Avoid touching the face covering while using it. If you do touch the face covering, wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Your face covering should be discarded or washed after every use. Reusable face coverings can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
  • It should not be worn damp or when wet from spit or mucus.
  • To remove the face covering: remove it from behind, do not touch the front of the face covering.
  • The wearer should immediately wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after removing the face covering.