Face Coverings FAQ

Use of Face Coverings to Reduce the Spread of Communicable Diseases Frequently Asked Questions

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) is committed to protecting the health and safety of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors and therefore TAMU-CC established university procedure 34.99.99.C0.02, Usage of Face Covering to Reduce the Spread of Communicable Diseases providing guidance on the use of face coverings. While TAMU-CC respects those individual opinions some may have concerning face coverings, research has shown that wearing a face covering is the most important, and a potentially life-saving tool to slow the spread of communicable diseases (e.g., COVID-19, influenza). The decision to require face coverings was not taken lightly but in the interest of public health, we are committed to this practice for the greater good of our Islander community.

What is a face covering?

A face covering is any cloth material that covers an individual’s mouth and nose, secures under the chin, and meets the following CDC recommendations for “cloth face coverings”:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape.

More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

 

What is the purpose of a face covering?

The primary purpose of using a face covering is to reduce the amount of virus spreading from the wearer into the environment and to others. Face coverings reduce the likelihood of the wearer contracting the virus from large droplets containing the virus that are generated by others in the environment that may otherwise enter the wearer’s nose or mouth. The use of a face covering does not replace the continued need for adequate physical/social distancing (at least six (6) feet of physical space), but instead augments physical distancing and helps us further reduce the likelihood of virus transmission.

 

What is a public space?

A public space is any outdoor space where adequate physical/social distancing (at least six (6) feet of physical space) is difficult to reliably maintain or an indoor space, other than your own private office or personal vehicle. Public spaces include hallways, lobbies, restrooms, classrooms, teaching laboratories, research laboratories, conference rooms, and break rooms. Face coverings should be worn in any enclosed public space, even if you are by yourself, or any outdoor space where six (6) feet of physical distancing is difficult to be reliably maintained.

 

How long will this procedure be in effect?

An official campus announcement will be sent when university procedure 34.99.99.C0.02, Usage of Face Covering to Reduce the Spread of Communicable Diseases goes into effect and the use of face coverings is required. This procedure is continually under review as guidance from the CDC, State of Texas, Texas A&M University System, Nueces County, and City of Corpus Christi is made available. This procedure will remain in effect until it is deemed safe to adjust and or change as new information becomes available.

 

Who should provide face coverings to faculty, staff, students or visitors?

TAMU-CC may provide each student, faculty, and staff member with a face covering when available upon returning to campus. Each department may keep a small amount of disposable face coverings on hand for visitors. 

 

Do I wear a face covering while eating or drinking?

No, you do not need to wear a face covering while eating or drinking. After removing your face covering for eating, we recommend placing the face covering into a clean paper or plastic bag to help keep the material clean and away from other people and items in your proximity. As soon as your meal is complete and your area has been cleaned (all trash disposed of and surfaces wiped down), wash your hands or clean your hands with hand sanitizer and replace your face covering, then clean your hands again.  Please limit eating and drinking during classes when possible.

 

Are face coverings required while riding a bus?

Riders are expected to follow Corpus Christi Regional Transit Authority requirements; however, it is recommended for TAMU-CC riders to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

 

Are face coverings required while operating a university vehicle or golf cart?

Yes, face coverings must be worn in a shared vehicle, even if no one else is in the vehicle, to decrease respiratory secretions on surfaces within the vehicle. Contaminated surfaces may still be a source of infection after you have left. This includes rented/leased vehicles for official university business.

 

If I am a student or have a student in my class who is deaf or hard of hearing, should my professor/I wear a face covering?

For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, opaque face coverings can be a hindrance to communication due to lack of ability to read lips. Faculty are encouraged to work with Disability Services to determine appropriate accommodations (e.g., wearing a face shield or a transparent face covering to accommodate students relying on lip reading).

 

Can I seek an exemption from wearing a face covering?

In an ongoing effort to protect the health and safety of our Islander community, a face covering must be worn in all public areas. Students requesting an exception to the face covering use requirements due to a disability or a documented medical condition should contact Disability Services at disability.services@tamucc.edu. Students requesting an exemption to the face covering use requirements due to a religious concern should contact Employee Development and Compliance Services at employee.relations@tamucc.edu. Employees and visitors seeking an exemption due to a disability should follow the process outlined in university procedure ﷟ 08.01.02.C0.01, Employee/Applicant Requests for Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA. For an employee or visitor requesting an exemption based on a religious concern, the individual should follow the process outlined in university procedure 08.01.01.C1.03, Employee Requests for Religious Accommodations. Requests for exemptions should include the reason that face coverings are not feasible and the additional safety measures taken to further mitigate the risk in the absence of face coverings. Those receiving an accommodation or exemption will be provided a letter to provide to their supervisor and/or faculty member.

 

How should I raise a concern about someone not adhering to the face covering use requirements?

Some individuals may have an exemption (described above) and not be required to wear a face covering. If individuals are not wearing a face covering in a public space, the first response should be a collegial reminder of the face covering use requirements outlined in university procedure 34.99.99.C0.02, Usage of Face Covering to Reduce the Spread of Communicable Diseases. If the individual refuses to wear a face covering, please contact their supervisor (for students this could be a faculty member or a staff member overseeing the area) so they may confirm that the individual has an approved university exemption with the Employee Development and Compliance Services or Disability Services or direct the individual to leave the public space. If the individual does not have an exemption and refuses to either wear a face covering or leave the space, this should be reported via the online Student Behavioral Conduct Reporting Form (https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?TexasAMUnivCC) for students and/or directly to the employee’s supervisor to deal with using established disciplinary measures.

 

Can students or employees be directed to vacate university property by the person having authority over the area if they refuse to wear a face covering?

Yes, unless they have received an exemption (described above) or the area has been granted a waiver from the face coverings use requirements outlined in university procedure 34.99.99.C0.02, Usage of Face Covering to Reduce the Spread of Communicable Diseases. The agreement to come back to campus includes a requirement to follow all safety regulations.

 

I have a private office; do I need to wear a face covering when other people are in my office?

A private office is usually an office with walls and a door and only one occupant. While alone in your private office area, you are not required to wear a face covering. However, when other people join you in the office then all parties are to wear a face covering. 

 

If I have already had a communicable disease (e.g., COVID-19), do I have to wear a face covering?

Yes. Scientific understanding of some viruses like COVID-19 is still evolving, and currently it is not known if those who have had the disease can be re-infected and become contagious again.

 

What should I do if I left my face covering at home?

Additional face coverings should be available for purchase in the campus bookstore and in some campus vending machines.