Facial Coverings

Out of care and concern for all members of our campus community and in accordance with recent orders and advisories from the Ohio Department of Health, the University of Cincinnati will require all employees currently working on campus and during the summer term that began May 11 to wear facial coverings in the workplace setting.

This requirement begins upon any employee or worker’s next return to the campus workplace and is in place for at least the summer term and may be extended further.

In addition, any students living on campus or coming to campus for any reason are also required to wear a facial covering.

If current, essential employees and workers do not have individual access to an appropriate facial covering, these employees or workers may currently request a one-time supply of five disposable facial coverings from the Department of Public Safety by emailing publichealth@uc.edu

  • Please note that this provision of a one-time supply can only be provided to employees deemed essential and currently working on campus during Summer term 2020. In all other cases, members of the campus community must provide their own face coverings due to limitations to campus supplies.

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.

Find more advice on facial coverings from the Ohio Department of Health.

Meal Times: Eating or Drinking

Facial coverings must be worn at all times 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.


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

Students may seek an exemption from the requirement to wear a facial covering by emailing University Health Services at COVIDWatch@uc.edu

Exemptions 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.