What to know about masking on La Salle’s campus

January 18, 2022

Student with mask

La Salle University’s indoor masking requirement remains in place for the Spring 2022 semester, regardless of one’s vaccination status.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 97 percent of the U.S. is experiencing high levels of community transmission of COVID-19, including Philadelphia.  

Here’s what you need to know about masking at La Salle: 

Do I need to wear a mask? 

You must wear a mask in all shared indoor settings on campus. This policy applies to guests and visitors. (As a reminder: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health, or PDPH, requires those with a University-approved vaccine exemption to either double-mask or wear an N95 or KN95.) 

How to wear a mask 

A face mask should completely cover a wearer’s nose and mouth, while fitting snugly against the sides of your face. Choose a mask with a nose wire to ensure optimal protection. 

What mask should I wear? 

Not all masks are alike. Cloth masks—even those with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric—are generally not nearly as protective against the highly transmissible omicron variant. Members of the University community should consider using disposable surgical-grade masks or N95 and KN95 masks. Double masking with a disposable mask on the bottom layer and a cloth mask on the top layer is acceptable.

What are N95 and KN95 masks? 

These masks are predominantly used in healthcare settings. Through the pandemic’s evolution, however, they have become effective tools for the general public in offering enhanced protection against more-recent COVID-19 variants. N95 and KN95 are better at filtering the air we breathe. The CDC said these masks capture 95 percent of airborne particles, whether bacterial or viral. 

When should I replace a mask? 

No matter the material, discard a mask if it’s torn or showing wear.  

Cloth masks can be washed and reused. Reuse of disposable, N95, or KN95 masks is permissible, though their filtration effectiveness diminishes over time. Generally, you should replace one of these masks when they are wet or visibly soiled. 

After use, remove a mask and wash your hands. Avoid storing or laying masks on shared surfaces.  

Where on campus can I get a mask? Students on campus

The University maintains a supply of surgical, N95, KN95, and University-branded cloth masks that are available to students and employees. Limited quantities of each supply can be obtained at our on-campus testing center at Treetops Café on South Campus and each residence hall security desk reception area, as well as the Union Information Desk. More information on availability and distribution is forthcoming.

Additionally, employees can submit requests for personal protective equipment through the myLaSalle Portal. (Just enter ‘PPE’ into the search bar to learn more.) 

The campus store, The Outpost, has masks and face coverings available for purchase.

When can I remove my mask? 

There are only a few mask-wearing exceptions while on La Salle’s campus: 

  • Dining patrons are permitted to lower their masks for a reasonable amount of time to eat and drink.  
  • Resident students are permitted to remove their masks within their personal residence; however, they must wear masks in all common spaces of their residence halls and while visiting another resident’s room. 
  • Faculty and staff must wear masks in shared office spaces, meeting rooms, hallways, classrooms, and common areas, though it is permissible to remove a mask while occupying individual offices that are enclosed with partitions or walls. 
  • Resist the temptation to lower your mask while speaking. (It defeats its purpose.) 

Risk of outdoor transmission remains low, though masking is recommended in crowded areas where social distancing is not possible. 

Have questions? 

More information about masking on campus and other safety protocol are available in La Salle’s health and safety guidelines. Email covid19@lasalle.edu if you have additional, relevant questions. 

—Christopher A. Vito