How to Wear a Mask Correctly
See how to properly put on and take off a mask.
See how to properly put on and take off a mask.
Procedure mask donning – with loops. Even the right mask worn incorrectly can leave you at risk. Procedure masks are not recommended for use in the OR. Clean your hands. Open the mask, expand pleats or folds. Examine for defects. Orient the top of the mask properly. Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards. Place the mask on your face. Adjust the nose piece and form/mold to your face. Place the loops around your ears one at a time. Fit the mask under your chin. Remove the mask by the ear loops. Change the mask if it becomes wet and between procedures. Throw mask away, at the completion of the procedure.
Amherst College requires face masks or covers to be worn on campus in all spaces inside and outside, with the exception of when alone in private personal offices. Make sure the mask covers your mouth and nose. Continue to keep a physical distance of at least six feet from individuals; a face cover is not a substitute for physical distancing.
Disposable, pleated filter face masks are available to students, faculty, and staff who are living or working on campus. Pick up masks at the Service Center at the Services/Police Building or at the Commissary at Schwemm’s in Keefe Campus Center.
Can I use my own mask or do I have to use the masks issued by the College?
You are encouraged to wear the pleated filter masks issued by the College but, according to the CDC guidelines, it is permissible to wear your own mask. The CDC recommends that the mask be two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric that completely covers your nose and mouth and fits tightly against your face without gaps. Use of cloth bandanas or neck gaiters in lieu of masks is not encouraged because studies show that they are not as effective in mitigating the potential for the spread of respiratory droplets.
Masks should not have exhalation valves, as they defeat the purpose of the mask. Masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing it from transmitting COVID-19 to others.
Persons other than medical staff (healthcare) and first responders (ambulance, fire and police) should not wear N95 or KN95 masks, which are in short supply and are strictly regulated by OSHA. These masks restrict breathing and may compromise your health and well-being.
What are the specifications of the masks the College provides?
The College provides masks that are designed to the technical standard T/CTCA7-2019. They are constructed of polypropylene pleated filter media having a filtration effect of >95% for 3.0 micron particles. The central filter media layer is 25 gsm polypropylene melt-blown filter fabric.
Studies of different mask types to determine the relative effectiveness in reducing droplet expulsion have concluded that these pleated polypropylene masks are very effective for general use and mitigating virus spread. These masks have been demonstrated to be more effective at reducing the spread of droplets than many other face coverings such as cloth masks, whether homemade or commercially purchased.
How do I put on and remove my mask?
Watch the video above.
How many times and for how long can I wear a College-issued mask before disposing of it?
The masks can be worn multiple times, depending on use. They should be discarded when they become dirty or wet.
Do you recommend cleaning the College-issued masks?
The College-issued masks should not be sanitized, but rather discarded when they become dirty or wet. The College has an ample stock of new masks available when your supply is depleted. When not being worn, masks should be folded in half along the folds so that the inner surface of the mask touches only the inner surface--and not the outer surface--during storage. The folded mask can be stored between uses in a clean sealable paper bag or breathable container. College-issued masks should not be bleached.
I’ve seen conflicting studies about the efficacy of different types of fabrics. What do the experts at Amherst advise, and with whom is Amherst consulting?
Refer to the above guidance and follow the guidelines of the CDC if you have additional concerns or questions.
Is the function of these masks to protect others, or does a mask also protect the wearer from COVID-19?
According to the CDC, face coverings are intended to prevent wearers who have COVID-19 without knowing it (i.e., those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) from spreading potentially infectious respiratory droplets to others.
Can offices and departments design and purchase their own masks?
Individual departments and other groups are prohibited from buying masks for their own distribution. Such purchases are restricted under Amherst’s discretionary spending policy. The College has an ample supply of approved masks for use.
What can I say to someone who's either wearing their mask incorrectly or isn’t wearing one at all?
If you’re comfortable, show them the proper fit by adjusting yours. You could also say: “Did you forget your mask? You can get one at the office of Environmental Health and Safety (email@example.com) or ACPD (firstname.lastname@example.org).” or “Wearing a mask protects us all. You can get one at (see previous sentence).”
As a last resort, there is a confidential online form for faculty and staff to register concerns about the behavior of any student, faculty or staff member that is in conflict with the College’s guidelines.