Stay Healthy

Cal Poly Student wears a mask while at an outside table, across from another student whose back is towards the camera

Use a Cloth Face Cover

The California Department of Public Health released updated guidance on May 3, 2021. The guidance mandates that a face covering is required at all times in indoor settings, with a few exceptions. It also includes guidance outdoors for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

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 face coverings were distributed to students, faculty and staff on the Department of Emergency Management website.

Mandated use of cloth face covering

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.
  • For fully vaccinated persons, face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
  • For unvaccinated persons, face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
  • As defined in the CDPH Fully Vaccinated Persons Guidance, fully vaccinated people can*:
    • Visit, without wearing masks or physical distancing, with other fully vaccinated people in indoor or outdoor settings; and
    • Visit, without wearing masks or physical distancing, with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease in indoor and outdoor settings.


The following specific settings are exempt from face covering requirements:

  • Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household,
  • Persons who are working alone in a closed office or room,
  • Persons who are obtaining a medical or cosmetic service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service,
  • Workers who wear respiratory protection, or
  • Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.

The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:

  • Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering 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 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.

* 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.

Important Prevention Information

Know How It Spreads

  • 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.

Consider Getting Vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S. are proven to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the virus. Find more details on the available vaccines on the CDC website and through the SLO County Public Health Department.

  • Everyone 16+ is eligible for a vaccine. Find an appointment in SLO County and on campus through the options listed here.
  • The vaccines don't work right away and some require two shots. People are not considered fully protected until two weeks after their final shot.
  • The CSU and UC systems announced plans to require the COVID-19 vaccine for students and employees conditioned on Food and Drug Administration approval and adequate availability of the fully approved vaccine, likely beginning in fall quarter. More details will be made available as fall approaches.

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.


Student Care Resources

A comprehensive list of care resources is available to students during this challenging time, including on- and off-campus mental health, financial support, and other basic needs services.

View Student Care Resources

Inclusion Resources

As one Mustang community, let's stand against racism and show that we value all members of our campus. Please visit our Inclusion Resources page so you can help Cal Poly become more inclusive and equitable.

View all Inclusion Resources

Community Resources

Looking for something to do? Here are some helpful resources and tips for enjoying the San Luis Obispo (SLO) community safely.

View Community Resources

Travel Resources

Check out some tips to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to your family, friends and supporters at home, and others around you while you travel. Get guidance on some steps to take before returning to the San Luis Obispo area and campus.

Review Travel Resources

Related Content