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01/06/2022 - Campus Masking Requirements

To: The Campus Community 

From: Jennifer Howes, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Wellness

In keeping with Los Angeles County's updated Public Health Officer Order, as of January 10 the Institute will require the use of well-fitting medical-grade masks by all individuals on campus when indoors. This is not a change in policy with respect to when and where individuals on campus must wear masks, but rather addresses which type of masks they must wear.  

Medical-grade masks—which are surgical masks, or higher-level respirators, such as N95 filtering facepiece respirators or KN95s—have been shown to be more effective than cloth face coverings in preventing the spread of the virus that cause COVID-19. Cloth face coverings, of any kind, will no longer be permitted for use in any indoor spaces on campus. 

It is also recommended that members of the campus community use a medical-grade mask outdoors whenever they are in large crowds or when physical distancing may be limited. All students are required to wear a NIOSH-approved N95 respirator in all instructional settings, including indoor and outdoor locations. Individuals working in environments where higher grade PPE is already specified should continue to use the required PPE.

The Institute is providing KN95s and N95s for all employees, students, and instructors through the Caltech Store. Packs of ten N95s or five KN95s will be handed out for free to members of the community when they present their Caltech ID. Please review the Proper Use of N95 Respirators and Cal/OSHA's guidance on how to wear an N95 mask, or see the California Department of Public Health's Get the Most out of Masking site for more information

Students who report to class without an N95 may be asked by their instructor to put on an approved respirator. If they fail to comply, they may be asked to leave the classroom setting. Students and employees who disregard this requirement may face disciplinary action. Anyone accessing indoor spaces or facilities on campus, regardless of their affiliation with the Institute, is required to wear an appropriate mask. 

Thank for your cooperation in this matter.