Prevention

Viral infections can be prevented by taking these steps at home or in the dorms.

Know How It Spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Use a Cloth Face Cover

As of June 18, 2020, the California Department of Public Health has mandated that people must wear face coverings when outside their homes in specific circumstances. There are also exceptions to the new rules.

The state mandate applies to the Cal Poly campus.

Below is an overview of situations when face coverings should be used on campus, and some of the exemptions that may apply to Cal Poly community members. Learn more about how Cal Poly plans to distribute face coverings to students, faculty and staff on the Department of Emergency Management website.

At Cal Poly, people must wear face coverings when:

  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space (unless exempted by state guidelines for specific public settings).  This includes classrooms, common areas of residence halls, and public areas of campus academic and administrative buildings.
  • Obtaining services from the health care sector, including the Cal Poly Health Center (unless directed otherwise by a healthcare employee or healthcare provider).
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle. This includes waiting at campus bus stops and it includes any Cal Poly students or employees who use vanpool services or local public buses to travel to and from campus.
  • Engaged in work, whether at Cal Poly or performing work off-site, when:
    • Interacting in-person with any member of the public, including students and any other non-employees.
    • Working in any space visited by members of the public (students and non-employees), regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time.
    • Working in a space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others.
    • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators and parking facilities.
    • In any room or enclosed area where other people — except for members of the person’s own household or residence — are present when unable to physically distance.
  • Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.
  • While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.
  • There are exemptions to the new mandate. Face coverings are not required for:

    • Persons age 2 years or under. These very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
    • People with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering.*
    • People who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
    • People for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
    • Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
    • People who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.
    • People who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they are able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.

* Please note: People exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others should wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cloth face covering?

A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

Source: California Department of Public Health

How well do cloth face coverings work to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

There is scientific evidence to suggest that use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Their primary role is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these primary interventions.

Source: California Department of Public Health

When should I wear a cloth face covering?

You should wear face coverings when in public places, particularly when those locations are indoors or in other areas where physical distancing is not possible.

Source: California Department of Public Health

How should I care for a cloth face covering?

It’s a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Have a bag or bin to keep cloth face coverings in until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face. Discard cloth face coverings that:
— No longer cover the nose and mouth.
— Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps.
— Cannot stay on the face.
— Have holes or tears in the fabric.

Source: California Department of Public Health

I am a student and cannot wear a face covering. What should I do?

Students should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) if they believe they cannot comply with any of the COVID-19 related health/safety measures due to a medical condition or disability. The DRC will then engage in an interactive process with the student to determine whether an accommodation is appropriate under the circumstances. Those who refuse to or cannot comply with COVID-19 related health/safety measures such as wearing a mask in public spaces, may infect others if they are ill, and thus they can be considered as creating a danger or “direct threat” to the health and safety of those around them. They can also lead the campus to be out of compliance with local health rules that the campus has confirmed will be followed. Since the health and safety of the entire campus community who are working, studying and living on campus in person will need to be considered when providing individual accommodations, not all requests for accommodation will be considered reasonable or appropriate to grant, especially if they endanger the health of others. However, solutions that balance the health/safety of the individual with the broader community will be sought.

Can I order Cal Poly branded face coverings?

Wash Your Hands Often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid Close Contact

Cover Coughs and Sneezes

  • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.

Clean and Disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Monitor Your Health

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

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