University Face Covering Policy Revealed

A recently approved University of York policy on face coverings will require “everyone on campus to wear face coverings” when in any “enclosed space”. All students and staff will be required to wear a mask in all teaching and learning spaces unless they are exempt from doing so.

Face coverings will be required in all labs and research facilities, enclosed social spaces, and meeting rooms, in a move that goes further than current government guidelines. Face masks will similarly be required in campus locations where 2m social distancing can not be observed. Individuals who have a legitimate reason for not wearing a face covering, as detailed in Government guidelines, will be exempt from these requirements.

To facilitate this policy, all students and staff members will be provided with at least two washable face coverings each. In addition, vending machines will be made available to sell disposable face coverings on campus.

The University will provide “a range of face bandanas type coverings with a clear window and face shields” on request so that individuals who rely on lip reading can continue to communicate without hindrance.

Individuals will not be required to wear a face covering in accommodation blocks or when they are eating and drinking on campus. This policy follows other universities such as the University of Oxford who have detailed their face covering policies in preparation for the return of students.

As of the 24 July, shoppers can face a £100 fine for not wearing a face covering. This will extend to students on campus. Furthermore, the University will ask staff to wear face coverings when working in campus’ commercial outlets.

Admission to the library and other campus areas may be denied if students who are not exempt from the policy refuse to wear a face covering. Students who try to access these facilities when not wearing a face covering will be “politely reminded” to do so and offered a face covering if they do not possess one. If there is repeated non-compliance it will become a University disciplinary matter. The policy states that “the University reserves the right to take appropriate disciplinary action.”

A University spokesperson has been contacted for comment.