NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

UH Face Covering Policy

Face coverings are mandatory for everyone on campus with very few exceptions. On June 24, 2020, President Khator announced her approval of a mandatory face covering policy for the campus.

The UH Faculty Senate considered two draft face covering policies — one mandatory and one strongly recommended. After a relatively extensive discussion mostly centering on how a mandatory policy could be enforced, a mandatory face covering policy was overwhelmingly approved by the faculty. Many questions relating to the policy and face coverings/masks are addressed on this FAQ page.

Face Coverings Must Cover Nose and Mouth

Note that the policy mandates ‘face covering’ that covers the nose and mouth. The most typical and effective type is a face mask, although use of a face shield would also be compliant. In fact, use of a face shield could help the hearing impaired student read your lips during a lecture. Clearly, there will be the need for a microphone of some sort for the instructor for HyFlex teaching, both to project sound to those sitting in the same room as well as to effectively transmit and record sound for the (a)synchronous participants in your class. Links are provided in the reference list to sites that will guide you in making your own cloth face masks. Notably, disposable face masks are becoming available again and at an increasingly reasonable price. Further, many vendors provide reusable, and branded, face masks and coverings. N95 masks should be reserved for medical professionals, particularly given the recent surge in cases and hospitalizations.

Face Covering Exceptions and Exemptions

Face coverings are not required while working in a single office, while engaging in physical activity outside, while eating and drinking, and in other scenarios/situations. If you feel that you have a medical or psychological concern with wearing a face covering, seek an exemption from Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) for faculty and staff or the Center for Students with DisABILITIES (CSD) for students. It is advisable to carry proof of an officially approved accommodation with you on campus.

Enforcement in Class Settings

Instructors of record will have the option for enforcing the requirement to wear face coverings unless an exemption has been granted by the Center for Students with DisABILITIES. First, students will be notified through their courses’ syllabi with a standard language of the university’s requirement to wear face coverings. If a student attends the in-person component of a class without a face covering, the instructor of record should ask the student to put on a face covering with positive coaching or to leave the classroom if the student does not wish to wear a face covering. If the student refuses to comply, the instructor of record can end the class meeting to avoid putting the instructor of record and other students at risk. Faculty should report non-compliant students to the Dean of Students by submitting an Incident Reporting Form.

Enforcement for Faculty

Faculty not wearing masks when required by these guidelines will experience positive coaching, and if that fails, disciplinary action may be initiated following the procedures outlined by the Faculty Handbook and the Grievance Procedure.

References and Reading