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Current University Face Covering Requirements

Effective August 3, 2021, Auburn University will require all individuals to wear face coverings inside all Auburn University buildings and on university transportation (including Tiger Transit.


The revised face coverings policy aligns with the latest guidance from the CDC a well as recommendations from university medical staff, local health officials and the Alabama Department of Public Health. Beyond this temporary measure, Auburn does not intend to adjust operational or instructional plans. The policy applies to all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings do not have to be worn when alone in private offices, when eating inside campus dining facilities, in residence hall rooms with a roommate, in open-air athletics venues, or in the Recreation and Wellness Center when exercising. The complete policy can be found here.


Use of Face Coverings

Auburn University requires all individuals to wear face coverings while in certain areas on the Auburn University campus or other property controlled by Auburn University. Face coverings must be worn by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in the following areas: inside buildings owned or otherwise controlled by Auburn University, even when alone, and other areas marked by official university signage or otherwise clearly communicated by the university. For additional information please refer to the Usage of Face Coverings to Counter COVID-19 Policy.


Face coverings are not required in the following areas: individual offices, when alone; residence hall rooms, when alone or with roommates only; open-air athletics venues; the Auburn University Campus Recreation and Wellness Center when exercising; indoor dining facilities; when actively eating; and outdoor areas.


Requirements for Face Coverings

All face coverings, whether disposable or reusable, should:

  • Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric (neck gaiters with two layers are acceptable),

  • Completely cover your nose and mouth,

  • Fit snugly against the sides of your face and don’t have gaps ; and

  • Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.

The latest guidance on face coverings can be found on the CDC website here

Use of Surgical Masks and N95 Respirators

Face coverings are different from surgical masks and N95 respirators. Surgical masks create a fluid-resistant barrier and are not designed to seal tightly around the breathing area. They should only be used by designated individuals in high-risk situations. N95 respirators should only be used by someone certified to do so who has undergone proper fit-testing, training and medical evaluations. Face coverings are not appropriate substitutes for surgical masks or N95 respirators in workplaces where surgical masks or respirators are recommended or required and available. Both surgical masks and N95 respirators are considered critical supplies. Due to a nationwide shortage of these supplies, the CDC is urging that both N95 respirators and surgical masks be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders only.

Face Shields

Face Shields are primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, the CDC does not currently recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for Face coverings except under very limited circumstances, such as for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Accommodation requests by students and employees to use a face shield instead of a face covering should be reviewed on a case-specific basis with an understanding of what other mitigating factors, such as scrupulous attention to distancing, or other accommodations can be implemented.  Only face shields that wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin should be used.

Faculty are permitted to use a face shield in lieu of a face covering while lecturing, as long as proper physical distancing can be maintained.  It is recommended that faculty maintain at least 10 feet of physical distancing while lecturing. Faculty that are not fully vaccinated should use a face covering prior to lecturing, immediately following a lecture, and while moving around the classroom interacting with students. Faculty are permitted to use face shields in certain circumstances because 1) instructors may be required to project loudly and may not have access to amplification in all classrooms and 2) there may be students with hearing impairments who rely on being able to see the instructor’s face when speaking.

Not Wearing a Face Covering

The CDC recognizes that wearing face coverings may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a face covering may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns.  Face coverings should not be worn by children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.


The CDC has additional adaptations and alternatives that should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a face covering or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one. If it is not possible to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability, students should seek proper accommodations through the Office of Accessibility and employees should seek accommodations through the Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity (AA/EEO). Student requests for exemptions based on a religious concern should contact Auburn Cares.


Faculty, staff or students may consult with Risk Management and Safety to determine the appropriate use of face coverings when:

  • Engaged in high intensity activities,
    • Face coverings are encouraged for those exercising alone on campus or inside the Recreation & Wellness Center.
    • Face coverings are recommended for those participating in close contact activities like basketball were physical distancing is not possible.
  • Working in a setting where masks may increase the risk of heat-related illness, or 
    • Outdoor workers should prioritize the use of face coverings when in close contact with other people, but may remove face coverings when working and physical distancing is possible.
  • Working in a setting where safety concerns exist due to introduction of a hazard (for instance, straps getting caught in machinery.

Care and Cleaning of Face Coverings

Wearing and Handling
  • Wash hands before handling the face covering.

  • Secure snugly but comfortably against sides of face.

  • Wash hands before removing the face covering.

  • Do not touch eyes, nose and mouth when removing face covering.

  • Place in clean bag or container between use and covering.

  • Wash hands immediately after removing face covering.

Reuse and Cleaning
  • Wash face covering daily in a washing machine. 

  • Use the warmest appropriate wash setting.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best fabric care.

  • Dry face covering completely before storing.

  • Store face covering in a clean bag or container before uses. 


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