Masks

On-Campus Mask Use

EFFECTIVE UNTIL DEC. 31 (PENDING FURTHER REVIEW)

All faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors will be required to wear approved masks in all indoor spaces and outdoor spaces (as defined below) on USask campuses in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.

Approved masks include:
  • single-use 3-ply-nonmedical-and-medical
  • N95, KN95s
  • double masking with a cloth mask over single-use 3-ply.
Outdoor spaces include:
  • outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people (including Huskie games)
  • prescribed outdoors activities (ex. Kids Camps)
Indoor spaces include:
  • Hallways, lobbies, washrooms and elevators
  • Libraries
  • Classrooms
  • Laboratories - laboratory mask use
  • Meeting spaces
  • Study spaces
  • Recreation facilities
  • Shared offices - masks may be removed in private work offices when the individual is the lone occupant of the space but if someone enters the office, you must don your mask. 
  • Residence -masks must be worn in all common and designated areas outside of private living space.
  • And all other indoor USask spaces (see below for exceptions)

Supporting the 4Rs for masking adherence


 Remind the individual that masking is mandatory;

 Request that they don a 3-ply disposable mask;

 Remove yourself respectfully from the situation. It is not recommended that you engage in debate or conversation as this may result in lengthy engagement with an unmasked person or lead to negative interactions; or

 Report using one of the following options:
For student issues: report any recurring scenarios or situations with the Report a Hazard tool (can be used confidentially);
For workplace issues: report the incident to the appropriate people leader or use the Report a Hazard tool as a confidential option. 


Employees are not obligated to address adherence to the USask mask protocol but rather are encouraged to address safety concerns when observed and/or report issues they observe so that non-adherence trends can be identified and addressed by Safety Resources.

Supporting Adherence

 

Exceptions

There are some exceptions to mandatory face masks—children under 2 years of age, those who cannot don or doff a mask, individuals requiring a medical exception—but in general, it is expected that all university community members, as well as visitors, will follow this requirement.

Why USask has mandatory masking

While the Government of Saskatchewan is easing its mandatory mask mandate, USask's masking guidelines will remain in place until further notice. These guidelines are reviewed regularly and any changes will be communicated with the campus community.

The requirement for wearing 3-ply single-use masks in all indoor spaces is an additional step to ensuring our campuses are as safe as possible as we expand in-person and on-campus operations. Non-medical masks are able to provide an enhanced level of protection with a balance of cost, comfort, and environmental impact. Medical-grade masks can be used but are not required (outside of the medical field) as the higher level of fluid impermeability designed for medical procedures is not-required for most USask processes.

Availability

All 3-ply, singe use, non-medical masks issued by USask Stores are acceptable. Masks that meet the requirements are available for your department/unit through a local University Store or ppesales.usask.ca

Faculty, staff and students can purchase masks through the Facilities Store (with a CFOAPAL), Shop usask, or at many non-university retailers.

USask will have a supply of single-use masks available free of charge to any member of the campus community who is required and approved to be on campus. If you have soiled or forgotten your mask, you can obtain one at the Health Sciences or Education buildings' check-in sites.

Mask Use

Double-masking

If you find that your single-use mask fits poorly, double-masking can be a valuable tool in ensuring your mask fits snugly against your face. Double-masking includes a single-use mask as the first layer against the face and cloth mask overtop as the outside layer. Double-masking, as described by the Centre for Disease Control, is not required at USask. DO NOT combine two disposable masks.

Lab Use

When working in a laboratory, it is recommended to have a dedicated mask for laboratory work. Do not wear your “lab mask” outside of the laboratory. See COVID-19 Guidelines: Face masks in Laboratories for more information.

Re-using single-use masks

Single-use masks, as they are named, are made for single-use. Yet, with proper care, and if the mask is not contaminated, degraded, or soiled, these masks can be reused throughout a day of work or study as you take it off for eating, to utilize your private office, to follow laboratory protocols, or in other appropriate circumstances.

Please remember the following when reusing any mask:

  • perform hand hygiene before and after donning and doffing a mask;
  • before and after use, inspect for any contamination, tears, rips, holes, elastic/straps ripped/stretched, and other damage;
  • do not reuse a mask that is damaged
  • do not share masks

If a single-use mask needs to be stored between uses, do so in the following manner:

  • perform hand hygiene before and after donning and doffing a mask.
  • avoid touching the front of the mask as that is where the majority of virus particles would be
  • masks should be stored for reuse in a clean, breathable, labeled container or bag; 
  • if using a reusable container or bag for storage, ensure it is disposed of or cleaned daily;
  • store masks so that they do not touch the masks of others.

Disposal and Recycling

Disposable mask recycling stations have been set up across campus to minimize the environmental impact of using 3-ply single-use masks, keeping them out of the landfill. 

Approved

Uncontaminated single-use masks including:

  • Medical and non-medical masks
  • Dust masks
  • KN95
  • N95

Prohibited

Other PPE, including:

  • Gloves
  • Hair Nets
  • Lab Coats or Garments
  • Cloth Masks
  • Medical Waste, including items contaminated with blood or bodily fluids.
  • Health Sciences Stores
  • College of Dentistry Building
  • Student Wellness Clinic Area
  • Physical Activity Complex (PAC)
  • University Services Building
  • Chemistry Department, Main Office
  • Western College of Veterinary Medicine Building and Prairie Diagnostic Services Building
  • College of Agriculture and Bioresources Building, Atrium
  • College of Engineering Building
  • Health Sciences Building, E-wing, Clinical Learning Resource Centre

Plexiglass Barriers

Plexiglass barriers are a mitigation strategy that provides a barrier between people and to help minimize the spread of respiratory droplets when individuals are in close contact and cannot physically distance. They do no protect people from aerosol transmission of COVID-19 which is recognized as the predominant route of infection.

Limitations of Plexiglass Barriers

Barriers can provide a false sense of security. It is important to remember that barriers are only part of a multi-layered mitigation strategy and should be used in combination with other USask COVID-19 preventative measures.

When in-person interactions cannot be avoided, barriers can provide a physical separation between people to support physical distancing efforts. However, they are not always appropriate and do have limitations (including but not limited to):

  • barriers do not provide a zero-risk solution, aerosol transmission can still occur when barriers are in place
  • barriers do not replace the need to physically distance when possible
  • barriers are not feasible or appropriate in all workspaces and work activities
  • plexiglass barriers are not recommended for laboratory settings

If barriers are not designed or installed properly for the specific work environment, barriers may obstruct or interfere with the airflow in the space which could have a negative impact to COVID-19 prevent and thus, the opposite effect intended.

The installation and use of a barrier must not obstruct pathways and cannot impede access or egress, especially in the event of an emergency.

Barriers should be freestanding or installed with double-sided tape or clamps. Avoid physically mounting to walls or office in such a way as to cause permanent damage when barriers are removed.

Freestanding barriers must be stable to ensure they will not fall.

Do not mount barriers to ceiling or ceiling grid.

Allow a space of at least 24” between top of barrier and ceiling.

  • Barriers cannot inhibit fire detection and sprinkler systems
  • Impact to space ventilation should be minimized

Local occupant cleaning protocols must include the disinfection of barriers. This service is not provided by Facilities.

Follow manufacturer instructions for the installation, cleaning, and use of the barrier. Ensure that the cleaning process will not cause damage or cause degradation of the barrier.

Enterprise Procurement has provided the following vendor options for procurement of barriers and installation service.

Vendor Details of Service Contact
WD Plastics, Saskatoon Offers in-stock 24” or 30” wide free-standing guards. USask receives 20% off the retail price for an average cost of $50 per barrier. Todd Hudson
Tel: 306-934-6844
Email: Todd@wdplastics.com
Web: www.wdplastics.com
Aero Glass, Saskatoon Can provide free-standing barriers in 2-3 days. Average cost: $140 for 20”x30” $260 for 40”x30” Aero Glass
Tel: 306-244-1888
Email: aeroglass@sasktel.net
Web: aeroglass.ca
Uline Countertop and hanging barriers. Overnight shipping common. Prices vary by size and design Web: www.uline.ca/BL_3176/Safety-Shields
Koncept Sign Group, Saskatoon Contact for a quote. Average lead time is 14-18 business days. Koncept Sign Group
Tel: 306-242-7100
Web: www.konceptsigngroup.com

Support Available for USask

Safety Resources is available for workplace assessments regarding COVID-19 prevention or any other occupational health and safety concerns. Please contact safetyresources@usask.ca with questions.

Although they will not be providing procurement or installation service, if there are questions or concerns regarding the installation of barriers, contact Facilities at facilities.support@usask.ca.

Purchasing PPE

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including gloves, masks, glasses, protective headwear, protective clothing, cleaning supplies, and disinfectant is available to purchase through university stores. To ensure a safe level on inventory is maintained, orders should only be placed when you are approved to safely resume work on campus. The supply chain for PPE continues to be under significant strain globally, however, an inventory of PPE is being maintained at the following locations:

  • ppesales.usask.ca
  • Health Sciences Supply Centre
  • Chemistry Stores (in-person only)
  • Veterinary Medicine Clinic (in-person only) *The WCVM Loading Dock will be closed from Dec. 21 to Jan. 1
  • Dentistry Stores (in-person only)
  • AgBio Stores (in-person only)

Please purchase what you need and not stockpile inventory of PPE. Due to a large amount of counterfeit PPE items available online we ask that you continue to purchase items through the campus store locations where you historically shop.