RWU Mask Policy
Last Updated: 11/6/2020
While it has been the expectation on campus to wear a mask at RWU at all times, the State of Rhode Island also now requires mask wearing anytime you are outside the house or around people you don't live with, regardless of whether or not social distancing is possible.
When masks were first endorsed by the CDC, there was a shortage of masks and information available to assist us in making informed on what types and materials provided the most protection to others. Protecting others encourages others to protect each of us.
The purpose of masks is to restrict respiratory droplets we all release from reaching others as a preventative source control for COVID-19: However, recent research (Duke University Mask Study) has provided strong evidence that not all masks work effectively depending on material and layers. In addition, masks with one-way valves or vents purposefully allow air and respiratory droplets to be released and those droplets can easily reach others in their path. Therefore, masks with valves and vents to not prevent wearers from transmitting COVID-19 to others and these masks are not recommended for source control by the Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
Bandanas, gaiter-type coverings, and knitted, single layer masks do not provide adequate prevention and were the lowest rated and least effective face coverings according to the Duke University Mask Study (see below).
Masks with valves or vents are not acceptable face coverings at RWU and are prohibited. In addition, bandanas, gaiter’s and single layer masks are not acceptable and prohibited.
One of the most critical components of our Reopening Roger Planning and Roger’s Compact Honor Code Pledge - https://www.rwu.edu/reopening-roger/safe-community-students/RWU-COVID-19-Pledge - includes required mask wearing on campus.
We recommend that students living on and off campus or commuting to RWU have at least 3 approved masks available to them for rotating and cleaning purposes.
The RWU branded mask students and employees are receiving is a 3-layer poly mask considered highly effective.
5 Most Effective Masks
- Fitted N95 (no exhalation valve) Should be reserved for health-care workers and emergency response personnel.
- 3-layer surgical mask
- Cotton-polypropylene-cotton mask
- 2-layer polypropylene mask
- 2-layer cotton, pleated style mask *
*Researchers tested three different 2-layer cotton, pleated-style masks. See the full study for photos and specific design details of all masks tested.
3 Least Effective Masks
- Gaiter-type neck fleece
- Double-layer bandana
- Knitted mask
Source: Duke University
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