Stanford University

Face Mask Guidance

Masking provides an extra level of protection against COVID-19 and helps keep our community safe.

Stanford (as well as Santa Clara County Public Health Department and the California Department of Public Health) strongly recommends masking indoors and in crowded outdoor settings. Masking is still required in healthcare facilities, including Vaden Health Center and Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, compliant with California Department of Public Health. Individuals in Stanford facilities outside Santa Clara County are expected to follow local masking mandates (e.g. SLAC, Newark HUB).

Face masks are no longer mandatory in classrooms. However, individual instructors will have the option of requiring masks in classes. Instructors who require masking should inform students in advance on Canvas, the university’s learning management system, and by email.

Stanford encourages everyone to respect the choices that individuals make about their own masking in many settings.

Types of Face Masks
  1. N95 respirators, KN95 masks, KF94 masks, and double masking (e.g., cloth face covering over a disposable surgical mask) can provide a higher level of fit and filtration. Surgical masks and double-layer cloth face coverings remain acceptable though they do not provide the same level of personal protection.

    Face coverings used at Stanford should meet the following minimum California Department of Public Health recommendations:

    • Fits snugly against the sides of your face and does not have gaps around the nose and chin.
    • Be equipped with a nose wire to minimize gaps around the nose bridge.
    • Completely cover the nose and mouth.
    • Acceptable types include cloth masks with tightly woven fabric (i.e., cotton) with minimum two layers, disposable/surgical face masks, and masks with inner filter pockets.
      • NOTE:  A face covering does not include a scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck, collar or single layer of fabric.

    Do not choose masks that have any of the following characteristics:

    • Fit loosely on your face with large gaps around the nose and chin.
    • Are made of fabric that is hard to breathe through.
    • Have exhalation valves or vents that allow viral particles to escape.
    • Gaiters and other loose fitting masks are not acceptable, even if double layered.

Is Stanford Providing Face Masks?
  1. We encourage you to provide your own face masks wherever possible, and many members of our community have already procured them for their use outside of Stanford.

    Department offices may wish to order mask supplies, using SmartMart or iProcurement (including for instructors requesting extra masks for students). Contact Environmental Health & Safety with questions.

    Faculty, staff, postdocs, and students will continue to be able to pick up masks at Arrillaga Family Dining Commons and EH&S testing locations, during open hours.

N95 Respirator Use
  1. Individuals are advised to review N95 Respirator Voluntary Use Guidance for important guidance on the safe use of N95s.

    Departments are to provide required use of N95 respirators to employees where identified jobs have high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 (e.g., clinical respiratory droplet/ aerosol-generating activities).

    Visit this page for information on N95 respirator use during wildfire smoke events.

For questions related to Stanford’s response to COVID-19 or other health concerns, please fill out this EH&S Health Guidance form.

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