Approved by: The President
History: Issued               -- August 20, 2020
Revised             --
Last Reviewed  -- August 20, 2020
Related Policies: Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities Policy; Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Policy; Removal of Student from a Course for Disruptive Behavior Policy; Social Distancing Policy
Additional References: Catholic University’s Reopening Plan; DC Order 2020-080 and other District of Columbia orders; How to Wear a Face Covering
Responsible Official: Chief of Staff and Counselor to the President, tel. (202) 319-5100

I. Policy Statement


The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced through: (1) social distancing of at least 6 feet; (2) practicing good hygiene measures (e.g., frequent hand washing, avoiding touching the face, covering coughs and sneezes); (3) staying home when ill; and (4) wearing a face covering that covers the nose and mouth. 

The University considers the proper wearing of a face covering to be a critical component of its efforts to protect the health and safety of every member of the community, and is a responsibility of every member of the community.  The University reserves the right to address violations of this policy by students, faculty, staff, contractors, visitors, and any other individuals on campus through immediate action.   

This policy is in effect immediately, subject to change in accordance with the District of Columbia’s expansion or relaxation of face covering requirements, and guidance by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This policy remains in effect until further notice. 

II. Definition of Face Covering

 

For the purpose of this policy, face coverings are defined in the DC Order 2020-080 as including homemade cloth masks, store-bought fabric masks, bandanas or other cloth wrapped around the head that covers the mouth and nose, as well as medical or surgical masks.  Guidelines on How to Wear a Face Covering appropriately are provided by the CDC and should be followed.

III. General Requirements and Exceptions

 

A. Requirements

 

In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19, all members of the University community, contractors, visitors, or other individuals on campus are required to wear face coverings on campus in accordance with the District of Columbia’s orders in effect and Catholic University’s Reopening Plan.  

While the University will provide a limited number of face coverings to members of the campus community, individuals are individually responsible for obtaining face coverings for their own use. 

Individuals must keep their face coverings with them at all times and ready for use. 

A face covering must be worn at least as follows:

  • In all campus buildings when other people are present, including classrooms, offices, and common areas such as restrooms, hallways, stairwells, and elevators. 
  • While outdoors while on the campus.

Residents of University residence halls are not required to wear face coverings when in their own rooms when alone or when only the residents’ roommates are present.  Face coverings must be worn when guests are in the residence.

Should the DC order in effect at any time impose stricter requirements than this policy, those stricter requirements supersede the requirements of this current policy.

This requirement is also in accordance with the CDC recommendations, guidance provided by the District of Columbia Department of Health (DCDOH), and the University’s Social Distancing Policy. As noted above, Catholic University’s Reopening Plan also includes the requirement to wear face coverings.

B. Exceptions

 

Face coverings are not required when: 

  • Working or spending time alone in a personal workspace, office, or other areas on campus.
  • Vigorously exercising outdoors and maintaining physical distance of at least six feet. 
  • Inside a private on-campus residential unit when alone or when only residents’ roommates are present.
  • Actively eating or drinking. However, a six-foot physical distance between people is required when eating and drinking.

IV. Specific Requirements

 

A. In the Workplace

 

1. Requirements

Staff and faculty employees, contractors, and any other individuals working on campus, must comply with the face covering requirement for the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues, and the greater community. Supervisors are required to ensure that all their employees and other workers have a thorough understanding of these requirements. 

2. Exceptions

If an employee, contractor, or worker states they are unable to wear a mask due to a health condition, refer the employee to the formal disability accommodation request process through Human Resources (HR) and the University’s Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities Policy. Representatives from Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (Compliance), and the Office of the Provost as applicable, will support HR in evaluating accommodations as a function of feasibility and risk.

Instructors will be required to wear a face covering while teaching on campus.  However, instructors with a specific pedagogical need to be more visible when teaching may request to use a face shield in combination with a plexiglass barrier and physical distancing in class, rather than wearing a face covering.  All requests for exceptions must be submitted, in advance, to the Office of the Provost via the Face Shield Request Form, and will be evaluated by a task force with representation from the Office of the Provost, EHS, and Compliance. If the request is approved, instructors still will be required to wear a face covering at all other times on campus as set forth in this policy, including while walking to and from classes.

3. Compliance

Individuals who do not comply with this policy should be reminded of this policy by their supervisor or report it to HR (cua-hr@cua.edu, tel. 202-319-5050.) EHS and Compliance are available to supervisors and HR for consultation and support. Employees and workers who do not comply with this policy will be provided with additional education and training as needed. If, after additional education and training, an employee or worker refuses to comply, contact HR to initiate the appropriate corrective action.  

B. Students 

 

1. Requirements 

Students must follow face covering requirements while on campus. If a student is without a face covering contrary to this policy anywhere on campus, a verbal request for compliance should be made to the student. 

As noted above, students do not need to wear a face covering when inside a private on-campus residential unit when alone or when only the residents’ roommates are present. However, while in the residences, students should wear face coverings while interacting with others who are not their roommate when social distancing cannot be maintained.  

2. Exceptions

A student who has an inability to safely wear a mask due to a health condition must contact Disability Support Services (DSS) in advance of class to engage the formal disability accommodation request process per the University’s Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Policy.  DSS will work with the task force composed of representatives from the Office of the Provost, EHS, and Compliance, to determine whether proposed accommodations are feasible in light of risk. In circumstances where risk outweighs feasibility, students may have to participate in University activities and/or classes remotely.   

3. Compliance

Students who refuse to comply with this policy are required to leave the location and the Office of the Dean of Students (cua-deanofstudents@cua.edu, tel. 202-319-5619) must be notified. 

Students must wear face coverings to, and during class.  Students are permitted to change their face covering to a new one if required for the class, such as in a lab that requires a specific type of face covering.  If a student is not wearing a face covering when they arrive at their classroom or during the classroom activity, the following will apply:

a. First, the instructor will remind the student to wear a face covering.  

b. If the student indicates that they do not have a face covering with them, the instructor can supply the student with one, if available, or request that the student leave the class and return wearing one.

c. In the event that the student does not accept an offered face covering, if available, or does not agree to leave the class to retrieve a face covering, the instructor may:

i)   Continue the class outside, with social distancing, if possible;

ii)  Disband the class and reconvene remotely; or

iii) Contact the Department of Public Safety (tel. 202-319-5111) to assist in escorting the student from the class space.

The instructor must notify the Office of the Dean of Students after the class session ends.  If warranted, the instructor also should consult the Removal of Student from a Course for Disruptive Behavior Policy

C. Visitors and Other Individuals Present on Campus

 

The requirements and provisions of this policy apply to visitors and any other individual present on campus, regardless of whether that individual has an affiliation with the University. Individuals who do not comply with this policy must be reported immediately to the Department of Public Safety (tel. 202-319-5111)

IV. Sanctions

 

The University reserves the right to address violations of this policy through immediate administrative action, including suspension or barring from campus, and in lieu of any formal disciplinary process.