Facial Coverings

In accordance with recent orders from the Ohio Department of Health, the University of Cincinnati will require all members of the campus community to wear facial coverings in workplace and learning settings according to the following protocols.

  • When indoors, facial coverings must be worn at all times except while eating or alone in a private room or office.
  • Outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their family/household.
  • Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, car service, or  a  ride  sharing  vehicle. 

Members of the campus community are responsible for providing their own facial coverings.  

Appropriate use of face coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.

At minimum, a facial covering should be cloth / fabric and cover the nose, mouth and chin. Facial coverings can also be made with a bandana. See more advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to wear and position a facial covering. See more from the CDC on how to select, wear and clean your maks.

Meal Times: Eating or Drinking

Facial coverings must be worn at all times when indoors except while eating or alone in a private room or office.

When employees take breaks for meals while at work, we recognize that there may be limited places to sit, relax and enjoy the break/meal. Taking breaks for meals by necessity involves removing a face covering, and this may pose a risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 while eating. To minimize the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from asymptomatic individuals, any of the following options should be implemented, and should be discussed with managers.

  • Employees should take breaks and meals in staggered shifts, as organized by their team/unitmanagers
  • Seating in break rooms should maintain at least a six-foot distance between individuals.
  • Employees should avoid prolonged breaks/meals (15 minutes or more) without a face covering in break rooms/lunch areas.
The physicians leading UC’s COVID-19 response also strongly recommend that employees currently avoid eating lunch or dining with colleagues or other members of the campus community, as lunch and dining opportunities are the most likely inflection points for exposure and spread in the workplace. 
Students should also be mindful of the transmission risks associated with removal of the facial covering and follow the above practices.

Accommodation or Mask Alternative

Employees may seek an accommodation from the facial covering requirement by completing the Facial Covering Accommodation Request form on the Bearcats Landing intranet.

Students may seek an accommodation or mask alternative option by emailing University Health Services at COVIDHelp@uc.edu

Accommodations will be based on those listed in the current State of Ohio directive:  

  • Facial coverings in the work setting are prohibited by law or regulation;
  • Facial coverings are a violation of documented industry standards;
  • Facial coverings are not advisable for health reasons;
  • Facial coverings are in violation of the business’ documented safety policies;
  • Facial coverings are not required when the employee works alone in an assigned work area; or
  • There is a functional (practical) reason for an employee not to wear a facial covering in the workplace.

For those who receive an accommodation to wearing a close-fitting, facial mask, HR (for employees) and UHS (for students) will provide guidance regarding parameters for a clear, plastic face shield that extends below the chin and around the sides of the face.

The CDC has recently updated its guidance on the use of plastic face shields. While the agency still states that they are an alternative to close-fitting masks or face coverings (and does acknowledge that there are instances when a mask cannot be worn), it does not recommend shields as a substitute. At the same time, the CDC still provides guidance on how to use a face shield.

What should I do if I see someone not wearing a mask?

To create a culture of care, every member of our community must do their part. If someone is not following health and safety guidelines, it is okay to politely share your concerns and expectations. A supply of disposable masks will be available for faculty to provide students in the event they do not bring a mask to class. If a student repeatedly forgets to wear a mask to class and doesn't have a medical exemption as outlined in the above section, please contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If an employee repeatedly forgets to wear a mask and doesn't have a medical exemption as outlined in the above section, please contact their supervisor. An employee can seek an exemption by completing the Facial Coverings Exemption Request Form