Face Coverings at UTSA
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommend everyone wear a face covering when in public spaces. New recommendations stem from recent studies that find a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and may transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
Based on this information, UTSA’s Public Health Task Force has set the following policies regarding face coverings at UTSA.
UTSA's Face Covering Requirement
Face coverings are required in all public and common spaces on UTSA's campuses. Face coverings can be medical or non-medical grade and must fully cover both the nose and the mouth.
Indoors, face coverings are required while in all campus buildings. Face coverings are not required if working alone and isolated in an enclosed workspace, e.g., laboratory, studio, office, practice room. However, if working independently without a face covering and another person enters the workspace, face coverings must be re-applied and are then required for both parties.
Faculty may wear a face shield in lieu of a face covering if they are having difficulty breathing or communicating during a lecture. The face shield must wrap fully around the face from side to side and extend below the chin. Social distancing must remain during the use of the shield. Otherwise, a face covering must be used.
Outdoors, face coverings are required only when social distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained.
- Wear your mask at all times when within six feet of another person
- If you are outdoors without your mask, reapply it immediately upon encountering others who physically come within six feet
For the Fall 2020 semester, the university is distributing one UTSA-branded cloth face covering to each student, staff and faculty member. The university will also sell spare masks at RowdyMart at a minimal fee to individuals who forget, misplace, lose or damage their face coverings and need a quick replacement. The university will also provide, by request, clear face coverings for faculty and staff use to accommodate communications with the hearing impaired.
If an individual has a medical reason that prevents him/her from wearing a face covering, accommodations will be assessed and approved through Student Disability Services (students) or the ADA coordinator (employees and contractors).
Care for Face Coverings
Face coverings should not be used consecutive days without being cleaned. Disposable face coverings should be disposed of on a daily (or more frequent) basis. Cloth face coverings should be washed prior to the next use/day. It is highly recommended that all students, staff and faculty carry at least two face coverings with them in their vehicle or on their person when entering campus in case one becomes unusable or contaminated.
Enforcement of Face Covering Requirement
The wellbeing of our university community is the shared responsibility of our students, faculty, staff and constituents. All students, faculty and staff will be required to complete a mandatory public health compliance training prior to returning to campus. UTSA will also post signage across its campuses to reinforce the importance of public health practices.
In the event a member of our campus community, or a campus visitor, is not in compliance with the policy, it is recommended individuals follow the "Ask, Offer, Leave and Report" method, as outlined below.
- Advise individual of campus policy and the importance of our shared responsibility to keep each other safe, and kindly ASK for individual’s cooperation. Example: “Hi. My name is Dr. Martinez (your name) and I am the instructor for Sociology 222 (your title/role). What is your name? It’s nice to meet you Mary, I am not sure if you are aware, but UTSA requires a face covering inside all campus buildings for the safety of our community. Please wear your face covering for the duration of our class.”
- OFFER the individual the opportunity to retrieve their face covering from their car, purchase one at the bookstore or other vendor, and then return
- If an individual refuses to cooperate you may choose to LEAVE
- End the meeting
- Cancel/end and dismiss the class
- Ask the individual to leave the area
- Leave the area yourself
- You should always REPORT any issues of non-compliance to the Compliance Hotline.
Failure to abide by UTSA's face covering requirements may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the student code of conduct or applicable employment policies and procedures.
If an individual poses an immediate threat to the safety of others, such as exhibiting physical violence, brandishing a weapon, or making threats to physically harm someone in the immediate area, contact UTSA Police at 210-458-4911.