University Quad and the School of Nursing Building

Face Covering FAQs

Last Modified: Thursday, February 10, 2022 1:47 pm

Face Masks & Face Covering FAQs

Have a question about Montclair State University’s policy on face masks and face coverings? Find the answers here.

What is the University’s policy on face coverings and masks?

You can read the University’s Policy on Face Masks and Face Coverings here. This policy was updated on August 12, 2021 and may be revised as circumstances change or new information becomes available.

The governor is lifting the mask mandate for schools. Will that affect the University?

On February 7, 2022, Governor Murphy announced that the State of New Jersey will stop requiring universal masking in K-12 schools and childcare centers effective March 7. Local school districts and daycare operators will be allowed to set their own masking rules.

The announcement does not apply to colleges and universities. The University has not yet determined whether any changes will be made to our masking rules. As we have done since the start of the pandemic, we will consult with our on-campus experts before making any significant changes. So keep wearing those masks, Montclair!

What kind of a mask should I wear?

At minimum, wear a well-fitting cloth mask made of multiple layers, but for extra protection, consider pairing it with a disposable paper mask, or upgrading to a KF 94 or KN 95 mask.

“Don’t use a single layer of cloth, like a bandana. It just doesn’t give you enough protection,” says University Health Center Director Patricia Ruiz. “Think of it this way – multi-ply cloth masks are good, double masks are better, and KF 94 or KN 95s are best.

“And be sure to buy your mask from a reputable source, because there are fakes out there.”

“Regardless of which mask style you choose, it won’t work well if it isn’t fitted properly,” Ruiz says. “Make sure the mask goes over your nose and under your chin. Pinch the nose band down so that air doesn’t leak out.”

Want to learn more about KF 94s and KN 95s, and how to find a trusted retailer? Check out this article on The New York Times product recommendation site, Wirecutter.

Do I need to wear a mask indoors?

Yes. Masks must be worn at all times indoors, except when alone in a private room. You may remove your mask briefly when eating and drinking, but only when you are able to keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and the others. Masks must be worn at all times inside University vehicles, including buses and shuttles.

A limited number of exceptions may be permitted, including allowing performers on stage and intercollegiate athletes engaging in sports activities to remove their masks. Such exemptions will be based on established best practices and approved by the Presidential Advisory Committee.

I am an employee working in an open-plan office. Do I have to wear a face mask?

Yes. Masks must be worn at all times indoors, except when alone in a private room.

What if I want to wear a mask, even if I am not required to?

Anyone may wear a face covering on campus whenever and wherever they want.

Are masks required outdoors?

Masks are required outdoors in crowded settings or when participating in outdoor activities that involve close contact with other people.

Do I need to wear a mask indoors when I am eating?

The mask policy says, “You may remove your mask briefly when eating and drinking, but only when you are able to keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and the others.” This requirement is in place because we do not know everyone’s vaccination status.

We want people to be able to make informed decisions, so before deciding to dine together, please talk to your friends and colleagues about your vaccination status  That way, each person can decide for themselves about congregating over a meal. At all other times indoors, and in University vehicles, when you’re with other people, masks are required.

Are there any exceptions to the mask policy? What about people with certain health conditions?

Individuals who have a health condition that prevents wearing a face covering must get an accommodation approval.

  • Employees who are unable to wear a face covering or face shield because of a disability should request an accommodation through the Director of Employee Benefits ( prior to returning to campus.
  • Students who are unable to wear a face covering because of a disability should request an accommodation through the Disability Resource Center.

What kinds of masks or face coverings are best?

High quality paper filtration masks, like an KN95 are best. Multi-layer cloth masks are acceptable – even better if doubled up with a paper mask or another multiply cloth mask.

Do not use loose fitting knit materials or single layer items such as bandanas, kerchiefs or neck gaiters. Studies have shown that they do not provide as adequate protection. Face shields are not a substitute for masks.

So, I can’t wear a paper mask?

Paper masks (sometimes called procedure or surgical masks) are acceptable as long as they have more than one layer. Paper masks may be allowed for certain activities, such as cleaning or working in a lab, where there is a need to dispose of the mask after usage.

Why does the University restrict the use of N95 respirators?

Tight fitting filtering facepiece respirators, commonly referred to as N95’s, may be harmful if not worn properly or if used by persons with certain medical conditions. Because of the risk, and to comply with OSHA regulations, the University restricts their use to only those employees whose job duties make it necessary, and it requires that those employees must be approved in advance by the Occupational Health Department. Approved employees must be fit tested, trained on proper usage and have received a medical clearance for use of the device.

Can I use a homemade face mask?

Yes. Campus community members may use a purchased or homemade cloth face covering. It should be made from multiple layers of tightly-woven cloth. Do not use a loosely knit fabric or single-layer items such as bandanas or neck gaiters.

Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use.

I have a mask with a valve. Is that okay?

No. Exhalation valve masks are prohibited. The valve design filters air breathed in, but not air breathed out. These masks fail to protect others and are therefore prohibited.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a mask?

No. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like face shields, gloves and safety glasses may aid in preventing exposure to SARS CoV-2, but they do not take the place of social distancing, hand washing, and the use of approved cloth face coverings and masks.

What if I forget my mask?

Face coverings are available for purchase in many campus vending machines across the campus. Employees and students who forget or damage their face coverings may obtain a disposable mask free of charge at any Vice President or Dean’s office, the Student Center information desk, or the Overlook Third Floor reception desk. Contractors or visitors may purchase face coverings from vending machines located throughout campus, including the Student Center and Cole Hall.