With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifting the coronavirus stay-at-home-order and as campus research labs continue to gradually reopen, U-M’s Environment, Health & Safety department is clarifying when and where individuals should wear a face covering while on campus.

In accordance with Whitmer’s executive order on face coverings, all persons are required to wear face coverings when entering enclosed public spaces, including campus buildings and workspaces, where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Acceptable face coverings include a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief.

University leaders are continuing to prepare for a coordinated phased return to on-campus working, learning and living. Therefore, employees will continue to work from home unless directed by their supervisor.

“If you have a single office or lab space and you can close the door and reasonably expect other individuals not to enter, you need not wear a face covering while you are in such location,” said Danielle Sheen, executive director of Environment, Health & Safety. “However, if you leave your office or lab space and proceed into a common area or hallway, even if there are no other individuals present, you should wear a face covering.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate nonmedical, cloth facial coverings, for the public, help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and help prevent people who may have the virus and are asymptomatic from transmitting it to others.

University departments are providing nonmedical-grade face coverings for all workers performing in-person work.  The U-M Procurement web site provides additional information for departments to order face coverings from approved strategic suppliers. Staff members also are welcome to wear a face covering from home.

To comply with CDC recommendations and ensure that appropriate personal protective equipment is available to those who need it most, U-M will only provide surgical masks, N95s, or KN95s to health care workers or first responders. Individuals who work in patient-care situations or areas of special risk — such as Michigan Medicine employees or university police — should continue to wear personal protective equipment as prescribed by their departmental manager.

When using a cloth face covering, these guidelines should be followed:

  • Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water before putting on a cloth face covering.
  • Ensure the cloth face covering fits snugly around your mouth and nose.
  • Avoid touching the cloth face covering while using it. If you do touch it, wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Do not wear a cloth face covering when it is damp or when wet from spit or mucus.
  • When removing the cloth face covering, remove it from behind, do not touch the front of the cloth face covering.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after removing the cloth face covering.
  • It is a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally at the end of each day.

In addition, here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses:

  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact, especially with those who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
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