Face Covering Use and Care

Face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by filtering out virus as we breath. With the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant, some public health officials recommend we use something more substantial than cloth and paper masks.  

Free Masks for University Community

Mason will offer a free N-95 mask to any student, faculty, or staff at Mason's COVID test sites and information kiosks on the Fairfax, Arlington, and SciTech Campuses.

Until you get one, you'll still need to wear a face covering of some type.


   

Use and Care of Masks

Before and after wearing all types of face coverings, you should wash your hands and inspect the mask for any damage that might prevent it from being effective.

Disposable Medical / Surgical Masks

Proper Fit

It should fit tightly, covering your nose and chin, with a clip secured firmly around nose.

Limitations

Be aware that facial hair impairs performance.

Care

Only use masks that come from the original packaging.

Damaged

Don't use masks that are soiled, torn or punctured, have a broken strap, or no longer fit snugly.

Replace

Disposable masks should not be used more than once.


 

Two-Ply Cloth Masks

Proper Fit

It should fit tightly, covering your nose and chin, with a clip secured firmly around nose.

Limitations

Be aware that facial hair impairs performance.

Care

Wash at least daily, more often if soiled.

Damaged

Don't use masks that are torn, have a broken strap, are threadbare, or no longer fit snugly.

Replace

If your mask is torn or damaged, discard it and get a new one.


 

KN95 Masks

Proper Fit

It should fit tightly, covering your nose and chin, with a clip secured firmly around nose.

Limitations

Facial hair significantly decreases performance.

Care

Store at room temperature on a clean, dry surface, or in a labeled, open paper bag for several days between reuse

Damaged

Don't use masks that are soiled, torn or punctured, have a broken strap, or no longer fit snugly.

Replace

If your mask is torn or damaged, discard it and get a new one.


 

N95 Respirator

Proper Fit

It should fit tightly, covering your nose and chin, with a clip secured firmly around nose.

Do a seal check to confirm satisfactory fit (PDF).

Limitations

Facial hair significantly decreases performance. Pre-existing health conditions could also have an impact.

Care

Store at room temperature in a labeled open paper bag for five days before reuse.

Damaged

Don't use masks that are soiled, torn, have a broken strap, or no longer passes a fit check (PDF).

Replace

If your mask is torn or damaged, discard it and get a new one.

Replace your face covering after five days of use.


KN95 Compared with N95

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not consider a KN95 mask a negative-pressure respirator since it has not been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Therefore, OSHA does not require a person be “fit tested” to wear a KN95. Since a person is not fit tested for a KN95, they should not use a KN95 in situations in which a fit-tested N95 mask is required for work activities.

If N95 respirator use is not required to meet OSHA regulations, medical clearance and fit testing is not required.


Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, wearing a mask might make breathing more difficult because you must pull air through the mask as you inhale.

People with known or suspected breathing problems, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or cardio/pulmonary problems should consult with their physician before using one.

When wearing a mask, if you experience headache, nausea, dizziness or have difficulty breathing, immediately leave the area, remove the mask, get fresh air, and seek medical attention if needed.