The University of Michigan is requiring all faculty, staff, students and visitors to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose anywhere on campus.

The policy, announced in a July 15 email to the campus community from President Mark Schlissel, is effective immediately and covers all locations on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint and medical campuses. It applies inside buildings, outdoors and on U-M transportation.

“Because many cases of COVID-19 are mild or asymptomatic and COVID-19 can be transmitted days before an individual with the virus is symptomatic, the community is best protected when all individuals mask up,” says the policy by Environment, Health & Safety.

“It is the shared responsibility of the entire U-M community to protect not only their health but the health of those who are most vulnerable for serious illness and death from COVID-19.”

Many types of cloth face coverings are acceptable, including homemade masks, scarves, bandanas and handkerchiefs. Face coverings that seal as tightly as possible to the face are preferable to those that fit loosely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend face shields as a substitute for cloth face coverings, but they can be worn in addition to a face covering during periods of sustained close contact with people.

Other preventive measures — including physical distancing, frequent hand washing, routine disinfection of high touch surfaces, and minimizing the duration of contact time with others — need to be maintained even while wearing a face covering, the policy says.

Exceptions where a face covering is not required include when people are:

  • Indoors in a single, enclosed private office with the door closed, or in an assigned residence hall room, suite or apartment.
  • Eating or drinking but still maintaining physical distance (at least 6 feet of physical separation between themselves and others).
  • Alone in a private motor vehicle or utility vehicle used for university business.
  • Under the age of 2 years or someone who is unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • Required to wear assigned respiratory protection for the job tasks they are performing.
  • Granted a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. For information on requesting such accommodations, contact the Office for Institutional Equity.
  • Engaged in physical activities or recreation in a distanced manner.
  • Involved in an activity, including certain types of instruction, where wearing a face covering may be infeasible or present a safety hazard, provided that a risk assessment is performed and reviewed by Environment, Health & Safety.
  • Communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication. In such circumstances, alternatives such as clear face coverings and other accommodations also will be explored.
  • Giving a speech for broadcast or an audience while maintaining physical distance of at least 6 feet from others.
  • Receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.

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