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Face Coverings Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Learn about face coverings as a public protective measure against COVID-19.

Alert - Mandatory Requirement per UC San Diego Policy.


All campus members and visitors should have a mask with them at all times while on campus. The campus recommends the use of N-95 and KN-95 masks. A face covering/face mask DOES NOT include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, gaiter, turtleneck, collar, plastic face shield, or a single layer of fabric. For proper use, the face covering must cover both the nose and mouthface cover

If a campus community member or visitor does not have a face covering while on campus, they will be provided with one or be required to purchase oneUniversity guidance will continue to evolve as Federal, State and County guidance is modified in response to the current public health environment. 

According to the CDC, when face coverings are properly fitted over the nose and mouth, they prevent the wearer from dispersing potentially infectious aerosols and droplets into the environment where they can contaminate surfaces or be inhaled by others. Face coverings with exhalation valves (quarter sized plastic disks on them) should not be worn as they do not protect others by preventing the dispersion of aerosols. Visit the CDC website for comprehensive mask information. 

Outdoor settings

All students, faculty and staff are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks outdoors while on campus. Attendees at outdoor campus events must wear a face mask if required by the event organizer.

Indoor settings 

Regardless of vaccination status, all persons must wear a mask or face covering at all indoor locations at UC San Diego. This includes shopping, dining, public transportation (including any UC vehicle transporting employees or students from different households), exercising, studying indoors at a location that is not your primary residence, attending indoor business meetings and indoor events. Laboratory settings require everyone to be masked.

Exceptions for indoor masking:

  • Not required while eating or drinking at a campus eatery or when alone in a closed office or closed room.
  • Not required within primary residence.
  • Not required while driving in a car alone or solely with members of your household.
  • Not required while working alone in a closed office or room.
  • Not required for those who are obtaining a medical or cosmetic service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
  • Not required for workers who wear respiratory protection, or persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.
  • Not required for persons younger than two years old.
  • Not required for persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication or persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

Indoor meetings

Indoor meetings include academic classes or seminars, department meetings, laboratory meetings or other routine business meetings. Guidelines for those planning or attending indoor meetings on campus:

  • Every attendee must be masked.
  • No attendee is required to provide proof of vaccination status.
  • No drink or food is to be consumed at an indoor meeting.
  • Participants, attendees and organizers include all categories of campus constituents: students, employees, guests, contractors and volunteers.
  • Organizers should provide a remote meeting attendance option when hosting an in-person meeting.

Purchasing masks

Current campus providers of face coverings include:

We are advising returning departments to have a two-week supply so the campus can maintain inventories. 

Methods to reduce fogging for safety glasses when using masks

Following methods can be used to reduce the fogging of the safety glasses when using face coverings and masks:

  • Achieve proper seal around the nose by: 
    • adding nose bridge in the mask with 2 twist ties adhered with tape
    • tightening the top strap when using two-strap masks
    • criss-crossing the ear loops for around-ear-strap mask
    • covering most of the nose area when using single strap masks
  • Wash safety eyewear with mild soap and water prior to use
  • Place a folded tissue paper horizontally across the nose underneath the mask
  • Treat the safety eyewear with anti-fog solution or wipes prior to use
  • Use anti-fogging safety eyewear

Face coverings and masks in the laboratory

Laboratory workers can utilize cloth or disposable masks. If procedures present a risk of contaminating the wearer’s mask please contact to evaluate strategies for preventing the contamination of your mask.

Laboratory using large amounts of flammables or pyrophoric materials should utilize either disposable masks or cloth masks made of 100% cotton.

Caring for face coverings and masks

If your mask is not disposable, follow these steps:
  • When soiled or dirty, wash the cloth face covering or mask using a washing machinewash.png
  • The frequency of washing is dependent on the frequency of use. It is recommended that the mask be washed at least daily per CDC guidelines
  • Wash items as appropriate to the cloth material or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry completely before storage and reuse
  • Store clean cloth mask in a clean bag or container until it can be reused
  • Containers used to store used or dirty mask shall be cleaned prior to reuse


Questions? Contact EH&S Occupational Health & Hygiene Services at