Face coverings

Face coverings reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets - when you wear a face covering, you protect the people around you, just as they protect you by wearing theirs. We’re asking everyone on campus to wear face coverings in any shared indoor space, with a few exceptions, including:

  • If you’re exempt from wearing a face covering for health reasons

  • If you’re in a sole occupancy office

  • If you’re in the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen of your own campus accommodation

  • If you’re eating or drinking

  • If you're communicating with someone who lip-reads

You can find a full list of requirements and exemptions in our Face Coverings Policy.

We’ve carried out a risk assessment and an equality assessment, and we’re confident that the risk of infection will be greatly reduced if everyone who is able to do so wears a face covering.

Suitable face coverings

You’ll be provided with two washable face coverings by the University, but you are welcome to use your own. If you do so, it must be a purpose-made face covering that meets the standards in our policy, ideally with at least two layers of fabric.

  • improvised face coverings (eg) a scarf or bandana are not permitted

  • face visors as a substitute for a fabric face covering are not permitted, unless for a suitable defined use as per the policy

When a face visor is permitted

  • Issues related to a disability such as the need for lip-reading

  • In addition to a fabric face covering, if you choose to

You can find a full list of examples for face visor exemptions in section 9 of the Face Coverings Policy.

Using your face covering

The most important thing is to follow the instructions that come with your face covering.

  • Ensure that it covers your mouth and nose

  • Avoid touching it while you’re wearing it, and remove it by the ties or ear loops

  • If it becomes damp, change it

  • Keep it in a clean plastic or fabric bag when not in use

  • If it’s reusable, wash it after use (and check whether there’s a recommended maximum number of uses)

  • If it’s single use, snip the straps to prevent them from getting caught around wildlife and dispose of it safely in a bin as soon as possible after you remove it. Do not leave disposable face coverings lying around as this creates a health hazard for our cleaners.

  • Keep your face covering on throughout the time that you're in an enclosed space, unless you're eating or drinking

Top tip: if you wear glasses, try to keep the top of the covering tucked under the bottom of your glasses - this should help stop them steaming up.

Not wearing a face covering

There may be some students and members of staff who will be exempt from wearing face coverings on campus (see examples of exemptions).

Wearing a lanyard or carrying a government card to indicate exemption

You may see those students and members of staff who are comfortable indicating they are exempt, either wearing a Sunflower lanyard or carrying a Government-advised exemption card (available to in both electronic and print formats).

Please note that no evidence is required (for example, a medical certificate) to collect a lanyard and/or exemption card.

Left: Both sides of a Government face covering exemption card.

Right: A student wearing a sunflower face covering exemption lanyard.

Where to get a sunflower lanyard

  • Students can collect these from college receptions

  • Staff can collect these from the Security Centre and Vanbrugh Reception, located in the Information Centre.

Students or staff who aren't using a lanyard or card but are exempt

Some staff and students may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering, whereas some may wish to be discreet and not, for example, wear a lanyard or carry a badge. We would remind everyone to be respectful and considerate to others in such circumstances, noting that reasons for not wearing a face covering may not be visible to others

If you’re not wearing a lanyard or other indication that you’re exempt, you may be asked to put on a face covering when you join a meeting or seminar or enter a space like the Library. Just explain that you are exempt.

If you’ve forgotten your face covering

If you’ve forgotten your face covering, you may be offered one or asked to purchase one from the vending machines in various locations on campus.

If you don’t wish to wear a face covering (and do not have an exemption)

If you don’t wish to wear a face covering and do not have an exeption, you may be denied access to enclosed spaces (eg meeting or seminar rooms, the Library). Where possible, you will be assisted to access the resource in another way - for example, an online seminar or the Library Click and Collect Service. However, choosing not to wear a face covering is likely to impact on your work or studies, so we advise you to discuss this with your supervisor or line manager.

If you spot someone not wearing a face covering

If you spot someone not wearing a face covering, be mindful that they may be exempt or simply have forgotten. If you decide to ask them why they’re not wearing a face covering, please do so respectfully.

We expect that most students, staff and visitors will understand and adhere to the requirement to wear a face covering. However, if someone repeatedly refuses to wear one when required, there is the option for this to be handled through the existing disciplinary routes for staff and students:

  • For staff, in the first instance, you can raise concerns with the individual yourself, if you feel comfortable doing so, or raise them with your line manager

  • For students, our University Report and Support tool is available for you to voice any concerns.

Relevant links