Facecovering FAQs

Get the answers to all of your questions about Montclair State University’s policy on face masks and face covering.


Does everyone on campus need to wear a face mask or face covering?
Yes. All students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors must wear multi-layer face coverings at all times in all interior public and shared spaces, including classrooms and common areas.
Do I need to wear a face mask when I’m outside walking around campus?
A face covering is strongly suggested outside, but it is only required outdoors on campus when you cannot keep at least 6 feet away from other people.
What if I’m an employee working alone in my office. Do I have to wear a face mask?
An employee does not need a face covering when working alone in a private office.
However, employees working in open-plan offices must wear face coverings at all times, including when seated at their workstations and even when they are a minimum of 6 feet of distance from other people.
Is anyone NOT required to wear a face covering? What about people with certain health conditions?
Individuals who have a health condition that prevents wearing a face covering must get an accommodation approval from Human Resources (if an employee) or the  Disability Resource Center (if a student).
There are a few exceptions:
  • Student athletes when actively engaged in their sport.
  • Performing Arts students when actively engaged in organized performance, in accordance with specific protocols developed by the College of the Arts.
  • 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 (benefits@montclair.edu) 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 do I do if someone isn’t wearing a face mask or social distancing?
For suggestions on how to approach–or not approach–someone about wearing their face mask, check out Wear Your Facemask, Please, which includes suggestions from Coordinator of Health Promotion Marie Cascarano, Professors of Public Health Amanda Birnbaum and Stephanie Silvera.
What kinds of masks or face coverings are best?
Multi-layer cloth masks are recommended. Do not use loose fitting knit materials or single layer items such as bandanas or neck gaiters. Studies have shown that they do not provide as much protection as a mask. Face shields are not a substitute for masks.
The University recommends multi-layer cloth masks, based on CDC guidelines and on a growing body of scientific evidence that they perform better than paper (disposable) masks at reducing infection. Additionally, paper (disposable) masks are more easily damaged than cloth face coverings and may be harder to fit properly.
So, I can’t wear a paper mask?
Paper masks are acceptable as long as they have more than one layer, but multi-layer cloth is still preferred. 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.
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.
What about N-95 masks? Can I wear one?
The use of N-95 masks is restricted. If you want to wear an N-95 mask, you are required to receive approval from the University Environmental Health and Safety office as well as undergo a medical evaluation by the University’s Occupational Health Department.
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?
Although employees, students, contractors and visitors must supply their own face coverings, face coverings have been distributed to each Division and College/School (and other locations on campus) for distribution as needed to individuals who forget or damage their own face covering. Face coverings are also available for purchase in vending machines in several campus locations.

More guidance on face masks and face coverings is available at the Employee Training section of Red Hawk Restart and in this recent communication from the University Health Center.