Guidance on face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19

To the Campus Community:

On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations for the use of cloth face coverings in public settings (especially in areas of significant community-based transmission) to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The California Department of Public HealthLos Angeles County Department of Public Health (PDF) and the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have also issued guidance acknowledging that wearing cloth face covers can reduce the likelihood of transmission from asymptomatic individuals who are unaware that they are infected.

It is important to note that these nonmedical-grade face coverings are intended to protect others from the wearer’s respiratory droplets, and are to supplement — but not substitute for — measures such as physical distancing and frequent hand-washing, which continue to be the most effective methods for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

While there are ongoing discussions among public health officials and other experts regarding which materials are most effective, current data suggests that acceptable options including bandanas, neck gaiters, homemade face coverings, scarves, and tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton T-shirts and towels. (See this briefing from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (PDF) for more information.)

Although face coverings are not a requirement for universities under the worker protection order (PDF) issued by Mayor Garcetti on April 7, they will be important in helping us protect each other from transmitting the virus. Therefore, we strongly recommend that the Bruin community use face coverings when in public settings, conducting essential work on campus, or entering campus dining facilities or other environments in which it may be difficult to maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet from other people.

Helpful instructions for making your own face covering can be found on this CDC fact sheet (PDF) as well as in this instructional video from the U.S. Surgeon General.

UCLA is coordinating with campus partners to procure reusable cloth face coverings for essential staff working on campus and students living in on-campus housing who are unable to provide their own. Please note these will be nonmedical-grade face coverings and will not be appropriate for health care workers, first responders or others working directly with people who have COVID-19. Priority will be given to essential staff working on campus in close quarters and in confined indoor spaces, including vanpools, hospitality, dining services and laboratories. Masks will be distributed to campus departments when production is complete, which could take a week or more because of the heightened worldwide demand for them. Campus officials will coordinate with departments to disseminate the masks when we receive them.

Face coverings will be required for employees working at the Luskin Conference Center, the Tiverton House, the Lake Arrowhead Conference Center, and UCLA housing and dining facilities as of this Friday, April 10. UCLA will provide face coverings for those employees.

The safety and well-being of our students, staff and faculty is of the utmost importance, and we will continue to dedicate unified efforts to protect our campus community. If you have any questions, please email the Office of the Administrative Vice Chancellor at covid19@ucla.edu.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Beck
Administrative Vice Chancellor

Roger Wakimoto
Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activitie

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