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Face Mask Protocols on Campus

All students, faculty, and staff on campus are required to wear a face mask with at least two, and preferably three, layers of material in all shared indoor settings. This includes locations such as classrooms, offices, common areas, healthcare facilities, laboratories, shuttles, etc.

Disposable medical masks are preferable to multilayered cloth masks, as they offer better protection against aerosols that transmit COVID-19, especially in terms of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Face masks do not need to be worn in private areas, such as residential rooms or suites and individual offices, or while eating in dining halls. Physical distancing should be practiced while dining.

Guidance is provided below on types of face masks that meet the University’s health and safety standards as well as the correct method of mask-wearing:

Method of Mask-Wearing:

  1. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer for a minimum of 20 seconds before applying your face mask.
  2. Face masks must cover your nose, mouth, and chin with a snug fit in order to be effective.

Tip: If your face mask leaves an open gap at your cheeks, twist the ear loops once and tuck the sides of the mask inward.

Types of Protective Face Masks:

  • Disposable medical masks are preferable to multilayered cloth masks given their superior effectiveness. Face masks should have at least two—preferably three—layers of material, otherwise known as two-ply or three-ply, to provide sufficient protection.
  • Double-masking, with a single-layer cloth mask over a medical mask, is acceptable. Please note that single-layer cloth masks alone do not protect against the Delta variant.
  • Surgical-grade masks, such as N95s and KN95s, should be reserved for immunocompromised individuals or hospital/healthcare settings. If using a surgical-grade mask, ensure proper fit, use, and decontamination.

Do Not Use:

  • Face masks with exhalation valves, single-layer cloth masks, and face coverings such as gaiters, bandanas, neck fleeces, and scarves. These should not be used as they are associated with increased risk of aerosol transmissions.
  • Used medical masks. Medical masks should never be re-worn or washed; they should be disposed of after a maximum of one day of use.

For more information about the effectiveness, proper use, or disposal of face masks, please refer to the World Health Organization's coronavirus advice. Questions about the University’s mask-wearing protocols may be directed to the MCPHS COVID-19 Team by email at: or by telephone at: 617.732.2798.