“Face covering required.” These two simple words have probably already become a familiar part of life outside home for you and your student. Wearing a face covering is a key part of the shared responsibility we all have in keeping each other safe.
This is why the University of Michigan is requiring all students, staff, faculty, and visitors to wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose anywhere on campus grounds. This includes when inside buildings, outdoors and on U-M transportation. You can review the full U-M Face Covering Policy for COVID-19 here and a brief FAQ here.
The World Health Organization explains that “masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives.” This includes maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others, thoroughly washing your hands, and following proper face covering and cleaning etiquette for those who are medically able to wear a mask.
Student Life will be providing your student with a starter health kit that includes 2 washable masks and 2 washable bandannas, but it will be up to your student to make sure they wear these the right way and in the right spaces. Exceptions are described in the official Face Covering Policy.
Please note that additional M-branded face coverings and kits are not currently available for purchase from Student Life, and you should make sure your student has enough supplies to get them through the semester before you send them to campus.
For everyone’s protection, your student should:
- Make sure their face covering is over their mouth, nose and chin.
- Avoid touching the front of the face covering.
- Wash their hands before and after removal.
- Wash their reusable face coverings with soap and hot water or in a laundry machine after use.
If your student is headed out of their residence hall or apartment, they can take a resealable plastic bag in their backpack; this is where they can store their face covering after wearing it. If they need to put a mask back on after storing it in the plastic bag, they should pull it out by the straps.
If your student is living in the residence halls, they can take advantage of the laundry facilities to regularly launder their reusable face coverings, but it will be their responsibility to make sure they have a clean one ready each time they go out in public. A good practice is to consider how many days your student goes between doing their laundry and supply them with at least one clean face covering for each day.
It’s also important your student knows that sharing face coverings is not recommended. If their friend forgets one, stores and pharmacies on and around campus now sell reusable options. Keeping a clean backup mask in a clean plastic bag in your student’s backpack is another way to make sure they are prepared for a public health-informed fall. To be more eco-friendly, your student might consider keeping their dirty mask in a washable silicon bag.
Is your student planning to don their face covering and head to Main Street or explore Kerrytown this fall? The city of Ann Arbor recently launched an infographic with guidelines to follow while downtown. These are posted in and around many local businesses as well.
Your student might still be worried about knowing when to wear a mask and when it isn’t needed. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services covers a range of FAQ on this topic here. Signs will also be posted in University of Michigan facilities to help keep everyone on the same page, but it’s never too early to make sure your student is prepared.
Wearing their face covering properly, taking the right precautions, and encouraging their friends to do the same—that’s what the Leaders & Best will be known for this fall.