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Face Coverings

Campus requirements

Effective July 15, 2020, all USG institutions, including Georgia Southwestern, will require all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities and buildings. Reasonable accommodations may be made for those who are unable to wear a face covering for documented health reasons.

Face coverings are not required in one’s own residence hall room or suite, when alone in an enclosed office or study room, or in campus outdoor settings where social distancing requirements can be met. When leaving these areas, individuals must wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities and buildings or outdoors when social distancing of six feet or more between individuals is not possible.

How do face coverings help?

According to the CDC's website, cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Wearing a cloth face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants). Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth face coverings are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. 

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others. 

Selecting a face covering

  • Wearing a cloth face covering or face mask is recommended by the CDC as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people.
  • It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings, according to the CDC website.
  • Cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N95 respirators. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Cloth face coverings can be made at home from bandanas, old t-shirts, or other fabric, with or without a sewing machine.


How to wear a face covering

  • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead.
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily.


Proper care

When removing your face covering, be sure to handle it only by the ear loops or ties. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing. Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. If you are using a washing machine, your face covering can be included with your regular laundry. Use laundry detergent and the warmest water setting appropriate for the fabric. Be sure to dry your face covering on the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry. (Source)

Where can I get a face covering?

All faculty, staff, and students will receive one washable, reusable branded GSW face mask at the start of the semester as part of the Fall 2020 Return to Campus plan. Members of the campus community are encouraged to bring their own face coverings. Additional reusable masks will be available for distribution at no cost, thanks to Mask Up Sumter and GEMA. The GSW Campus Bookstore will also be selling branded face coverings.

How will the use of face coverings be monitored and regulated?

Face coverings will be required in all campus facilities and buildings beginning July 15, 2020. Anyone not using a face covering when required to do so will be asked to wear one or they must leave the area. 

Repeated refusal to comply with the requirement may result in discipline through the applicable conduct code for faculty, staff, or students.

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