This guidance will be updated regularly. Please read updates on face coverings via our website, emails to you, and social media.
What is a face covering?
Face coverings are not PPE or Medical Devices and do not protect the wearer. However, they may protect others and help our community to feel safer.
Face masks and medical masks should only be used in medical and clinical settings. See our table below to see the different between face coverings:
Item About Protection Face covering
Can be made at home or bought commercially
Usually washable and reusable
Not PPE or Medical Devices
No protection for the wearer but may protect others if the wearer is infected but does not have symptoms. Surgical Face Mask
Not generally considered PPE outside of healthcare situations
Provide barrier protection against respiratory droplets reaching the mucosa of the mouth and nose. Face shields (or visors) Can be reusable or disposable Provide barrier protection to the facial area (eyes, nose, lips) from respiratory droplets, aerosols and from splashing of secretions (including respiratory secretions), blood, body fluids or excretions.
How do I use a face covering?
- A face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.
- Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose.
- You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.
- When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.
If you experience light-headedness or shortness of breath when you are wearing your face covering, seek support from your lecturer or tutor. It may be that you need to take regular breaks from wearing your mask throughout the day when appropriate and at a safe distance from others.
Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste - anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.
Where do I need to wear a face covering on campus?
Face coverings should be worn by students in lectures and seminars but also where social distancing is difficult to maintain outside of teaching situations, such as:
- Any indoor areas of campus including communal spaces and corridors
- Enclosed public spaces, such as the LRCs, Chapman lounge and de Havilland Atrium
- Common rooms, The Oval, and other communal areas of halls of residence (this does not include your kitchen or living area)
- University shops
- Cafes (except whilst eating or drinking)
- Faith and quiet spaces
- Club and society spaces
- Public Transport
*You do not need to wear a face covering if you are the sole occupant of a room
How long will I be expected to wear a face covering on campus?
We do not know how long this measure will be in place, but we will update you as soon as there are any changes to the use of face coverings on campus. While government guidance on face coverings may change, please check the emails that the University sends you as we are also following our own health and safety precautions to keep you safe.
Where can I get a face covering?
To help us to protect each other, the University has purchased branded face coverings for our staff and students.
If you are a returning student, you will be able to collect your free face covering from reception on both College Lane and de Havilland campuses. Make sure you bring your Student ID card in order to collect one.
If you are a new student, you will be able to collect your free face covering when you go to collect your Student ID. Details of collecting your ID will be emailed to you, and you can find out more about the process on Ask Herts.
Face coverings will be limited to one per person, so please make sure you only take one so that there is enough for everyone! Should individuals wish to obtain a second mask, these will be available for purchase from the campus shops.
Please make sure you also bring your own face covering to wear when you arrive onto campus. If you do not already own one, you can make your own face coverings at home (see how to make your own) or you can purchase them online.
What if I can’t wear a face covering?
You may not be able to wear a face covering due to:
- An existing physical or mental health condition
- Learning or communication needs
This is not an exhaustive list and we are here to support you whatever your circumstance.
If you are unable to wear a face covering or would be adversely impacted by others wearing a face covering there will be exemption cards available.
To get your exemption card (see image below) please contact StudentWellbeing@herts.ac.uk and you can also talk the team about your disability, difficulty or health concern if you need support. Read more about exemption cards here.
Please also be assured of the other measures the University has in place for September. Read more about them here.
What if I see someone not wearing a face covering? What is the University’s code of conduct?
No disciplinary action will be taken against those who choose not to wear a covering, and it is important to remember that some individuals are unable to wear a face covering due to medical reasons.
We are committed to supporting and promoting the health and wellbeing of our community. It is expected that staff and students will respect the decisions made by members of our community to protect themselves and each other.
All students sign up to abide by the Student Code of Conduct and as part of the Code agree…” to be personally responsible for their actions and behaviour to comply with the University’s Health and Safety policies and regulations… to take reasonable care of their health and safety and not to endanger the health or safety of others”.
The majority of our students abide by this code, however, if a student or staff member has witnessed or experienced an incident, or they feel uncomfortable, they can report these directly to the Office of the Dean of Students. If they are worried about someone else, they can also report this using these forms. These online forms enable students and staff to report anonymously or seek advice from an adviser. Access the forms here.
Will my lecturers/university staff be wearing face coverings?
We will be providing face visors to ensure your lecturers can continue to deliver high-quality and interactive teaching with as little barrier to your learning as possible.
Face coverings are part of a series of measures at the University to keep our community safe. Our teaching spaces are now set up to ensure lecturers will be at least 2m away from students when teaching, so if your lecturer can maintain a 2m distance from you throughout the teaching session, they do not have to wear a face visor.
How is the University promoting the use of face coverings?
There are several measures in place to promote the use of face coverings. Signage has been installed across the University and we will be using the digital screens across both campuses to remind everyone about the safety precautions we should all adopt.
This is a shared responsibility to keep all our community safe, and we encourage you all to educate yourselves and others to spread awareness about the health-positive facts of face coverings.
What should I do if I rely on lip reading?
If you rely on lip reading and require staff to wear a clear face covering, please get in contact with email@example.com.