Face Covering Policy

Aug. 25, 2021

In compliance with Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department's Directed Health Measures, all University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) faculty, staff, students, and visitors (including contractors, service providers, and others) are required to use a facial covering at all times when indoors on the UNL campuses, with the following exceptions:

  • In office settings when 6 feet of separation from others can be maintained at all times.
  • When seated to eat or drink, or while immediately consuming food or beverages.
  • When alone in a room or not in the same workspace of any other individual.
  • When giving a speech, lecture or broadcast to an audience so long as six (6) feet of distancing from other individuals is maintained and only while said speech, lecture or broadcast is being delivered.
  • When an alternative is necessary as indicated by a medical professional during patient care.
  • When actively participating in a supervised group exercise class, showering, using the swimming pool or using a piece of cardio equipment in a campus recreation facility.
  • When exercising and not at rest.
  • When in one’s assigned apartment or residence hall room.
  • When the task requires the use of a NIOSH-approved respirator.
  • When pertaining to children under the age of 2 years.
  • Cannot wear a face covering because of a medical condition, a mental health condition, or a disability that prevents the wearing of a face covering.*

This policy shall remain in effect until further guidance is provided from the Office of the Chancellor.

*Requesting Exemptions

Individuals who cannot wear a face covering because of a medical condition, mental health condition, or a disability that prevents the wearing of a face covering may seek an approved face covering exemption. To request a face covering exemption, students should contact Services for Students with Disabilities. Faculty and staff should contact Faculty/Staff Disability Services.


Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department has issued Directed Health Measures mandating the use of indoor face coverings.

What Constitutes a Face Covering?

There are no universal design standards for facial coverings. However, coverings must extend from the bridge of the nose to below the chin.

  • Reusable cloth facial coverings are acceptable, as are disposable paper masks.
  • Per CDC guidance, face shields are not recommended.
  • Regardless of the type used, masks should not be designed with exhalation valves.

Wearing and Caring for Your Facial Covering

Each individual is responsible to care for their own facial covering. Disposable facial coverings are to be discarded as ordinary refuse after a single day’s use. Reusable cloth facial coverings should be washed regularly. Facial coverings that are visibly soiled or in poor condition should not be used.

Instruction for properly caring for and donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) a face mask is provided at the Environmental Health & Safety website.

Additional Protective Measures

This policy on facial coverings complements other important community and self-protection measures which are to be consistently practiced by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors. These measures include:

  • Self-monitoring for symptoms and staying home when ill or after having been exposed to someone known or suspected of having COVID-19.
  • Washing hands often and thoroughly.
  • Refraining from touching the face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.


Any employee, student or visitor who fails to abide by these guidelines may be asked or directed to leave the campus space. Employees and students who are directed to leave a campus space for failure to comply with these guidelines may be taken off duty and/or subject to disciplinary action.

Procedures for ensuring compliance in classrooms and similar places are described in the required syllabus statement, “Required Use of Face Coverings for On-Campus Shared Learning Environments.”

Counteracting Existing Marginalization

In implementing this policy, we must ensure protocols to optimize safety and provide a sense of well-being for all members of our community. We recognize that a policy to wear facial coverings may exacerbate implicit biases and existing racial stereotypes. Thus, we will provide training and professional development for members of campus units regarding face coverings in order to prevent racial profiling and targeting.