A photo of a person wearing a mask.

Face coverings are required for all students, faculty, staff and visitors to Montana State University. They must be worn indoors — including in hallways — and outdoors where social distancing is not possible or difficult to reliably maintain, though they are strongly recommended in all outdoor spaces as well.

The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread via droplets from sneezes, coughs or even talking over distances up to 6 feet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And since people can carry and spread the virus without showing any symptoms of it — or with very mild symptoms — wearing a face covering can help protect those around you and the community at large.

Types of face coverings

Appropriate face coverings are those that cover the mouth and nose of the wearer. Different types of face coverings have been shown to vary in effectiveness in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Surgical masks and cloth face masks are among the more effective types, while bandanas and gaiters are among the least effective. MSU recommends the use of masks over other types of coverings. Read more about mask types and characteristics in the Roadmap for Fall 2020.

Masks for employees

Upon request to a unit supervisor, the university will provide one cloth face mask to each employee who returns to campus. This mask is to supplement an employee's own mask or face covering. Masks will be distributed through department and unit supervisors.

Faculty and instructors will be provided their preference of face shields or cloth face masks to wear in the classroom. Face shields may be useful for instructional faculty because students can more easily read lips and observe facial expressions. Requests for personal protection equipment should be made by unit or department supervisors to the MSU Office of Safety and Risk Management.

Usage instructions

Below, you can review instructions from MSU Safety and Risk Management for putting on and removing masks, as well as print posters showing the instructions.

Face Shield Usage

Get instructions for taking off and reusing plastic face shields.

Laundering cloth masks

Please note, the CDC advises washing cloth face coverings routinely, depending on their frequency of use. Laundering instructions will depend upon the cloth used to make the face covering. Running your face covering through a washing machine should suffice to properly clean it, but in general, clean your covering with water and a mild detergent, dry it completely in a hot dryer and store in a clean container or bag for use.

Page updated Oct. 14, 2020