April 6 Message to Faculty/Staff: New CDC Guidance Regarding Masks

To Our Faculty and Staff Working on Campus:

Late Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance regarding masks—specifically, that the agency now recommends wearing cloth ones when in public settings where physical distance from others is difficult to maintain.

Thanks to our exceptional staff, we are ready—at least for these first days.

Over the weekend, emergency management leader Megan Koeth pulled together a team of volunteers from public safety and business continuity to prepare hundreds of “mask bags” for our facilities, custodial, public safety and residence life staff—as well as our students living on campus. Depending on respective duties, the bags included surgical masks, printed directions for wearing, and cleaning wipes.

The bags for designated staff are being distributed throughout the day, and the Staff Advisory Council and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) will be assisting at student pick-up sites tomorrow.

The supplies became available through the generosity of several campus units, among them Environmental Health and Safety and the Animal Resource Center. The university also received strong response to the March 28 email that provided a form for those who wanted to donate protective gear.

For those of you whose on-campus roles involve less frequent or direct interaction with others, we ask that you secure or make cloth masks as soon as possible. The CDC, multiple media outlets (including USA TodayThe New York Times and CNET) and the U.S. Surgeon General all provide instructions.

Because surgical masks only can be worn for a short period of time, we also need many more cloth masks for students still living on campus. If any of you know of organizations that have cloth masks available, or if you personally would like to donate some, please let us know through this form.

You need not wear these masks when working alone in your office or other campus space; however, we strongly recommend wearing them when walking through regularly traveled indoor and outdoor areas (e.g. halls, elevators, sidewalks, etc.).

Please keep in mind that, even when wearing masks, you still should follow the CDC’s physical distancing and hygiene guidelines.

Thank you for taking these steps to protect your own well-being as well as the health of others on campus.

Barbara R. Snyder

Sara Lee, MD
Executive Director for Health and Counseling Services