Face Coverings

Professors and student wearing masks in the SURP lab at Cal Poly

Face Covering Requirements for Campus Activity

Inside Spaces

Cal Poly strongly recommends, but does not require, masks be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks will continue to be required for all in health care settings.

Outside Spaces

Students, employees and visitors to campus may be outside without a face covering, regardless of their vaccination status.



Per CDC guidelines, the following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:

  • Persons younger than 2 years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.*
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

* If you have a medical exemption, you may be asked to wear a face shield with a drape. 

Proper Use and Guidance for Using Face Coverings


  • ALL Cal Poly students
  • ALL Cal Poly faculty
  • ALL Cal Poly staff (State, ASI, Corporation)
  • ALL visitors
  • The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) strongly recommends masking in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Universal masking is required in specific settings, including health care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a mask in indoor public places if you are not fully vaccinated.
  • Cal Poly has N95 masks available for campus community members to wear if they choose. Students, faculty and staff can also pick up a surgical mask or reusable three-ply face covering on campus. See below for details.
  • Accommodation Process

Face Covering Limitations

  • They do not qualify as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.
  • They do not perform or qualify as a respirator.
  • They do not significantly filter respiratory droplets during inhalation.

Proper Use

  • Acceptable face coverings must:
    • Completely cover the nose and mouth.
    • Fit snugly against the side of the face with secured ties/ear loops. An effective mask has both good fit and good filtration.
    • Allow breathing without restriction.
    • Be clean and undamaged. Wash your hands before putting on a face covering.
  • Cal Poly has N95 masks available for campus community members to wear if they choose. Students, faculty and staff can also pick up a surgical mask or reusable three-ply face covering on campus. See below for details.
  • Bandanas and gaiters are less effective face coverings and should not be used.
  • For more information, refer to guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health.


  • Sanitize reusable face coverings by washing with soap and water between uses.
  • Can be laundered and dried via dryer or air dried.

Summer 2022 PPE Distribution

Face coverings are available to all campus community members over the summer.

Get a Face Covering

Cal Poly has N95 masks, surgical masks and reusable cloth face coverings available for all campus community members.

  • These locations have N95 masks available during operational hours. Students and employees may each pick up four N95 masks at a time.

  • Surgical masks are available at the University Union Facility second-floor supervisor desk, the Kennedy Library in the main lobby on the first floor, and the Recreation Center.
  • Reusable face coverings are available at the University Union Facility Supervisor desk, located on the second floor of the UU; and the Kennedy Library in the main lobby on the first floor. 

Properly Dispose of Face Coverings

Consider the environment in your choice and use of face coverings. While we all work to reduce the spread of COVID-19, help Cal Poly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, and properly dispose of face coverings that have reached end of life in a landfill receptacle. Learn more about Cal Poly Zero Waste and other sustainability initiatives.

Questions about distribution?

Email ppe@calpoly.edu.

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