Notice: COVID-19 resources, information and plans for current and upcoming academic terms. Learn more.

Upcoming Academic Terms: Info and Plans

Face Mask Guidelines

Faculty, staff, students, and visitors, including vendors and contractors, are required to wear an appropriate face mask in all indoor areas of campus facilities including classrooms, common areas, libraries, hallways, stairwells, elevators, and study/work areas.

Face masks are also required in outdoor campus areas where physical distancing is not possible.

Please bring your own reusable non-medical mask whenever possible.

Effective August 1, 2021:

The University will no longer mandate masking as a condition of coming on to campus; however, masking provides a layer of protection and mask wearing is encouraged. The following provisions must be followed:

  • Starting August 1, 2021 and extending through the end of the Fall 2021 Term, masks will be required on campus in the following spaces:
    • Classrooms;
    • Research labs/computer labs and other labs;
    • Library; and
    • Studios (for example, MAP).
  • Masking during face-to-face meetings and in public areas will be a personal choice given physical distancing.
  • Physical distancing (50% capacity) has been built into classrooms and meeting rooms;
  • The chair/organizer of any meeting will determine the meeting modality, i.e., in-person or through Zoom or a combination of in-person and Zoom;
  • Those attending in-person meetings will be supported and not challenged about their masking decisions, i.e., to wear or not wear a mask;
  • Group office spaces, including cubicles, have been assessed for physical distancing and/or barrier needs. Masks in single use offices (typically with a door) are not required; however, if more than one person is present in such spaces, mask use is optional.  We encourage conversations among colleagues to ensure comfort with masking or non-masking in these spaces; and
  • Students who engage in group work/study in public areas are encouraged to wear masks and physically distance.
  • Masking is optional in all indoor sports or performance-related facilities on campus for athletes, coaches, and other participants.
  • Spectators and audiences attending indoor sports or other events/performances have the option of masking and are encouraged to engage in physical distancing when possible.
  • Masking will not be required in designated venues where food is consumed (Riddell Centre, Lab Café, etc…). Sharing of food and drinks is discouraged.
  • Daily wellness self-assessments must be conducted. Individuals who are not feeling well should not come on to campus. This includes individuals who have cold-like symptoms.
  • Masks are recommended in elevators and stairwells.
  • Disposable complimentary masks will be made available at the following locations: Registrar’s Office, Security Office, Library, URSU Office, and in Faculty reception areas.
Masks are required Masks are optional but encouraged
  • Classrooms
  • Labs
  • Library
  • Studios
  • Public areas
  • Offices/work spaces
  • Meeting/conference rooms
  • Outdoor events
  • Indoor sports facilities (spectators)
  • Indoor events (audience)
  • In-person student group-based projects
  • Elevators and stairwells
  • Single use offices with more than one person

People may wear a mask on campus anywhere and at any time, including work spaces, even if not formally required in the above guidelines.

The University will engage in ongoing assessment of the COVID-19 situation in Saskatchewan and adjust safety protocols accordingly, including masking.

For Meeting/Event Organizers

Face Mask Requirements

Masking and other control measures

Description of an appropriate face mask

An appropriate face mask is a disposable or reusable mask that covers the mouth, nose and chin ensuring a barrier that limits the transmission of infectious respiratory droplets. All face masks, whether disposable or reusable, must be made with at least three layers of tightly woven, breathable material; fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin; fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; and be secured with ties or ear loops, allowing one to remain hands-free. Face coverings such as bandanas and gaiters do not meet these requirements. Masks fit people differently depending on their face shape; choose a mask that fits snugly and does not require adjustment/touching.

YES masks-blue masks-pattern mask-black
NO mask-red mask-neck

We are all responsible for modelling and encouraging compliance. If you see someone who is not wearing a face mask, remind them that it is required. They may have forgotten and appreciate the reminder. If they need a mask, refer them to the locations cited in the availability section below. And, if they refuse, please refer them to their supervisor, manager, or other person responsible for the area. It is important to show kindness to those who are unable to wear a mask while keeping in mind that unfounded non-compliance with the requirement to wear a mask may be subject to appropriate action. We are confident however, that awareness and education will suffice to ensure compliance.


  1. With consultation of Health, Safety and Wellness, Departments/Faculties may designate spaces and activities where mask use is not required.
  2. Mask use will be subject to the health and safety requirements for a specific classroom, lab, or workspace due to the nature of the work, handling of hazardous/infectious materials, or other site-specific safety requirements. Appropriate mask use in these scenarios must be reviewed as part of a risk assessment by the work/lab supervisor/manager.
  3. Masks use is not required inside private offices, dorms, residences, or controlled access areas when working alone.
  4. Mask use is not required by person(s) who:
    1. are under the age of 2;
    2. are unable to place, use, or remove a mask without assistance;
    3. are unable to wear a mask due to a mental or physical concern or limitation;
    4. are consuming food or drink in designated seating areas;
    5. are engaged in aquatic activities.

Exceptions may be permitted for the use of eating/break areas, and instruction in selected fine arts (vocalsor instruments such as woodwinds and brass). For face mask requirements in these areas refer to the faculty/department’s requirements.

Students, faculty, and staff seeking mask accommodations for reasons of health, religion, or ability to wear can access one of the following accommodation processes:

  • Student may make use of the University’s existing student accommodation processes to address your request for accommodation. Students with accommodations will request their Accommodation Letters each term through the Centre for Student Accessibility. If you require an appointment or need to communicate with an Accessibility Advisor, please email or visit the Centre for Student Accessibility webpage. If accommodations are granted, alternative health and precautionary measures must be discussed with course instructors.

  • Faculty and staff requiring accommodation may contact the Healthy Workplace Advisor ( for a workplace accommodation and must work with their department to ensure appropriate control measures to accommodate work.


Disposable complimentary masks will be made available at the following locations:

  • Registrar’s Office
  • Security Office
  • Library
  • URSU Office
  • Faculty reception areas
Standardized, single-use, disposable, medical type face masks as well as reusable cloth masks are available at the Campus Store for purchase. Medical type face masks are also available to faculties, departments and staff through UR Stores ( located in Research & Innovation Centre, RIC 110.

Appropriate Use of Masks

Masks are not to be used as a substitute for personal protective equipment or in place of other controls, such as physical distancing, hand washing, barriers or not coming to campus/work while ill. While wearing a mask on campus, you are asked to follow appropriate use guidelines. In most areas, buildings, and facilities non-medical masks are generally appropriate for use, however it is vital they are used appropriately and safely. Appropriate donning (putting on), doffing (removing), and mask care must be practiced, and wearers must be aware of masking limitations. While wearing a mask on campus, you are asked to follow appropriate use guidelines. Hand hygiene should be practiced as regularly as possible whenever handling, putting on, or removing masks. Non-medical masks are not considered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Health Canada video on how to properly wear a mask

Health Canada has created a short educational video to help the public learn how to properly wear a non-medical mask:

Masks should ...

Masks should:

  • Be donned (put on) and doffed (removed) properly to reduce contamination
  • Allow for easy breathing
  • Fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
  • Maintain their shape after washing and drying
  • Be changed immediately if damp or dirty
  • Be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment
  • Be made of at least three layers of tightly woven material fabric (e.g. cotton or linen)
  • Be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

Masks should not ...

Masks should not:

  • Be shared with others
  • Impair vision or interfere with tasks
  • Be placed on children under 2 years of age
  • Be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials or have exhalation valves
  • Be secured with tape or other adhesives
  • Be made of materials that easily fall apart (e.g. tissues)
  • Be placed on anyone unable to remove them without assistance or anyone who has trouble breathing

Limitations ...


  • Homemade masks are not regulated like medical masks and respirators
  • They have not been tested to a recognized standard
  • The fabrics are not the same as used in surgical masks or respirators
  • The edges are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth
  • They may not provide protection against the inhalation of virus-sized particles, rather they contribute toward the protection of others and reduction of community risk

Cleaning, changing and disposing of face masks

Masks become damp and difficult to breathe through after 2 to 3 hours of continuous use, so an individual may require multiple masks each day. The rate of mask changes and number of masks a user will require will depend on usage. For reusable masks, change your mask as soon as it gets damp, soiled, or contaminated and wash it before wearing it again. Bag soiled masks in a resealable container for later laundering. Launder reusable masks by hand or in a washing machine with other items using a hot cycle, and then dry thoroughly. Replace a reusable mask if it becomes damaged or non-functional.

Single use disposable masks should be discarded and replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled, damaged, or crumpled. After use, dispose of them in a lined garbage bin. Remember, masks become damp and difficult to breathe through after 2 to 3 hours of continuous use, so an individual employee/student may require multiple masks each day.

Putting On/Taking Off a Mask

How to don a face mask

  1. Ensure the face mask is clean and dry.

  2. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before touching the mask. If hand washing is unavailable, use hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol base.

  3. Ensure your hair is away from your face.

  4. Place the face mask over your nose and mouth and secure to your head or ears with its ties or elastics. Adjust if needed to ensure nose and mouth are fully covered. The mask should fit snugly to the cheeks and there should not be any gaps.

  5. Repeat Step 2.

While wearing a mask, it is important to avoid touching your face. If you do touch your mask or face, you should immediately wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. You can also use hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol base. A mask should fit snuggly and not require adjustment/touching.

How to doff (take off) a face mask

  1. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If hand washing is unavailable, use hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol base.

  2. Remove the face mask by untying it or removing the loops from your ears. Avoid touching the front of the mask when removing it. It can be placed in a plastic bag temporarily if you are not at home. Make sure you close or zip seal the bag while storing it.

  3. After removing the face mask, repeat Step 1.

  4. Students, staff and faculty must review donning and doffing procedures appropriate to their study/work activities with their instructors/supervisors. Depending on the nature of work, such as avoiding contamination by hazardous materials, additional precautions may be required.

Risk Based Mask Use

Reusable non-medical masks will not be appropriate for all uses/scenarios. Higher risk activities, such as high respiratory activities, working with people who are unable to mask, or working with hazardous materials that impose additional precautions must be reviewed for appropriate mask use on a case-by-case basis.

Supervisors/managers should consider their options or appropriate masking in their programs and always keep in mind that masking is a final point in the hierarchy of control/prevention measures.

Risk assessment must be completed for occupancy/resumption of activities on campus to determine which tasks fall in higher risk categories, such as those where physical distancing cannot be maintained. See the Health, Safety and Wellness COVID-19 Resources website for more information on the Faculty, Department or Business Unit Risk Assessments and other resources for those returning to campus.

Medical masks

For scenarios where masking is deemed appropriate, and where a higher standard mask is required due to the nature of the activities, consider usage of a standardized disposable medical mask, available as discussed in the requirements section.

Medical masks are standardized to demonstrate performance in fluid resistance, differential pressure, filter efficiency, and flammability. Medical face masks are single-use and should be worn for a limited amount of time. These masks are not respirators and are not designed to create a complete seal and therefore do not protect the wearer from airborne contaminants. Masks should be regarded as contaminated after use and discarded accordingly. When it is safe to do so, masks should be replaced if they become wet, soiled, torn, or dislodged.


Respirators, such as N95’s or P100’s, are not appropriate substitutes for general mask use. Do not use respirators designed for high-risk healthcare workers simply for precautionary wear. Respirators must only be used as part of a respiratory protection program for the mitigation of hazardous materials and all users must be fit tested.

Face shields

Face-shields are unknown to provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. Do not use face shields in place of masks. For those requiring face shields as a secondary barrier they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Not all face shields meet specifications for eye-protection and are designed as a secondary barrier. Face-shields of these types should be worn in addition to safety glasses when eye protection is required. Face-shields have been sourced and are available through UR Stores ( located in Research & Innovation Centre, RIC 110.

Masking around hazardous materials

Masking around hazardous materials must be sufficiently risk assessed. Using face masks in laboratories carries the risk of contaminating the masks and possibly the user. Special care should be taken when working with masks around hazardous materials and/or volatiles. Non-medical and medical masks are not designed as a barrier (such as respiratory or splash protection) for hazardous materials, therefore they should be changed/disposed of after any suspected contamination/exposure by hazardous materials; any such incidents must also be immediately reported to Health, Safety and Wellness. Additional measures should be used to prevent exposure to hazardous materials using the hierarchy of controls, such as local ventilation or fume hood for volatiles.

When considering masking around hazardous materials, consider:

  • Alternative strategies: Could the work tasks be conducted differently (e.g. single occupant in a workstation) to avoid the need for masks?
  • Contamination risk: Are reusable or disposable masks more appropriate?
  • Fabric compatibilities of masks with hazardous materials (Polyethylene for medical masks, 100% cotton for most reusable masks).
  • Flammability of masks (medical masks are Class 1, normal flammability, standard lab coats are 100% cotton). Hazards requiring Flame Resistant/Arc rated clothing require flame-resistant-rated masks, or other appropriate mitigating controls.
  • Training for users on how to avoid contamination of masks.
  • How reusable masks (if appropriate) are to be handled, stored, laundered, transported, donned and doffed according to laboratory/work procedure.
  • For laboratories handling infectious materials consider:

For those experiencing fogging of safety glasses/eyewear when wearing a mask, see the fogging FAQ on the FAQ page.