Even those who do not feel sick can spread the virus. That is why as we return to on-campus work, all employees will be required to wear facial coverings or masks, depending on the type of work they perform.

A face covering or mask must be worn at all times while on campus in the presence of others and in public settings where physical distancing is difficult to maintain (e.g., common work areas, meeting rooms, classrooms, hallways, stairways, restrooms, etc.).

Appropriate use of face coverings or masks is critical in minimizing risks to people around you, as you could spread the virus to others even if you don’t feel sick. Wearing a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing.

Cloth face coverings and disposable masks are available and will be provided to each employee upon their return to campus. Employees can wear their own mask if they prefer.

CDC-Recommended Cloth Face Covering


Face coverings are constructed of 2-ply cotton cloth. They may be self-constructed or commercially manufactured, with loops on the sides, top and bottom. The CDC  has issued guidance and various resources regarding cloth face coverings.


An graphic depicting a home-made cloth face covering.






Recommended use

CDC advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may be unaware that they have the virus from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

lafayette college policy

Home-made or manufactured cloth face coverings are appropriate for use by the general Lafayette College community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This type of face covering may be worn by the campus community in shared, non-healthcare settings to reduce the wearer’s ability to spread infection via respiratory droplets.

Change and launder your face covering daily. Store your face covering in a clean paper bag when not in use.

Disposable Masks (e.g., surgical-style or dental masks)


Surgical-style and dental masks are loose-fitting masks typically made of non-woven fabric and will have straps or cloth ties. Masks come in three fluid resistance levels (ASTM 1, 2 or 3). The higher the number, the greater resistance to fluid, blood, aerosol exposure or spray. Surgical-style masks are similar to surgical masks but are not manufactured for clinical use, nor do they carry FDA approval. The masks are non-sterile.

Two surgical-style face coverings
Recommended use

A surgical-style or dental mask is a loose-fitting, disposable mask that covers the nose and mouth of a person. This mask will prevent large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays or splatter from being spread by the person wearing them.

lafayette college policy

Disposable masks (e.g., surgical-style or dental masks) are appropriate for use by the general Lafayette College community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These masks can be worn by the campus community in shared, non-healthcare settings to contain the wearer’s respiratory droplets.

These masks should be discarded daily.

N95, N99 and N100 Respirators


Respirators are composed of melt-blown, non-woven fabric. US respirators come in different filter efficiencies (95, 99 and 100), and will carry a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approval. European respirators come in two filter efficiencies FFP2 (similar to N95) or FFP3 (equal to N100).

These respirators may also have an exhalation valve; however, masks with an exhalation valve are not appropriate for use to prevent the spread of COVID-19 because the exhalation valve allows unfiltered exhaled air to be released.

Example of an N95 respirator     N95 Respirator with exhalation valve
recommended use

Respirators are tight-fitting face coverings that are designed to reduce the wearer’s exposure to respiratory contaminants.

lafayette college policy

N95, N99 and N100 respirators are not appropriate for use by the general Lafayette College community. These respirators are in limited supply and are reserved for use by healthcare workers and other approved areas with task-specific hazards.

Use of any of these respirators requires compliance with Lafayette College’s Respiratory Protection Program, specifically, review and signing a Voluntary Respirator Use Form.

Regulatory Agency Resources

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a list of frequently asked questions regarding facial coverings, surgical masks, and respirators.