Community Update #3 - York Makes the Wearing of Non-Medical Mouth and Nose Coverings Mandatory on Campus

To the York University Community

As of Friday, July 10 2020, the wearing of non-medical mouth and nose coverings is mandatory at York University, where maintaining two-metre physical distancing is not possible or predictable in common and shared spaces within buildings, on both the Keele and Glendon campuses. These spaces include, but are not limited to, academic buildings including classrooms, administrative buildings, meeting rooms, common areas in all residences, washrooms, corridors and elevators.

The safety and well-being of York students, staff, faculty, instructors, and researchers remains our number one priority as we proceed with the phased return to campus. Currently, until at least August 31, attendance on campus is limited to staff members delivering required services, students living in residence, and individuals  who have been approved for access to campus buildings for specific research, teaching, learning or administrative purposes.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has advised that when worn properly, a person wearing a non-medical mouth and nose covering can reduce the spread of their own respiratory droplets.

Last week, the City of Toronto passed a bylaw requiring the wearing of non-medical mouth and nose coverings within enclosed public spaces. While postsecondary institutions are exempt from this bylaw, York University has chosen to apply a similar requirement.

As an indoor mall, the requirements associated with the bylaw were implemented at York Lanes, effective July 7.

To assist in making this possible, York University will provide two non-medical mouth and nose coverings to York University community members who are currently required to be physically present to work on campus or who are living in residence on campus. Signs will be posted at the entrances to all buildings reminding community members of the need to wear their non-medical mouth and nose covering while indoors.

Exemptions
The requirement to wear non-medical mouth and nose coverings within enclosed public spaces will not apply in the following circumstances:

  • children under two years of age;
  • persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits their ability to wear a non-medical mouth and nose covering;
  • persons who are unable to place or remove a non-medical mouth and nose covering without assistance;
  • staff, faculty, instructors and researchers within an area designated for them (i.e. single occupancy office) and not for public access, or within or behind a physical barrier; and
  • persons who require accommodation in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code that precludes the wearing of a non-medical mouth and nose covering.

York University community members are not required to provide proof of any of the exemptions identified above. Community members are requested to exercise kindness and compassion should they observe a fellow community member not wearing a non-medical mouth and nose covering. In these cases, please reach out to your associate dean, supervisor or manager who can help address or direct your concerns.

Non-medical mouth and nose coverings can be temporarily removed where necessary for the purpose of eating or drinking, or while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity (once indoor athletic facilities are open).

The campus community is strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and to follow the latest infection prevention and control measures provided by federal and provincial governments as well as the Health and Safety Guidelines for Returning to Campus during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In addition to wearing non-medical mouth and nose coverings, remember to practice other health and safety steps, including physical distancing, frequent handwashing, using hand sanitizer when handwashing is not available, avoiding touching your face, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and staying home if you are sick or belong to a vulnerable population.

Non-medical mouth and nose coverings are not a substitute for personal protective equipment (PPE). If you have any questions about non-medical mouth and nose coverings or PPE, you can discuss them with your manager or contact Health, Safety and Employee Well-Being (HSEWB) at hsewb@yorku.ca.

Who is eligible to receive non-medical mouth and nose coverings?
Non-medical mouth and nose coverings will be available to any approved York community member (staff, faculty, instructors, researchers, students, including those in residence). Each non-medical mouth and nose covering package will include two coverings and a one-page instruction sheet; the instruction sheet provides information on safe use, care and precautions. Two non-medical mouth and nose coverings are included in each package to give you the flexibility to wear one when the other one is being laundered.

Coverings will also be available to community members, as the University plans for return to campuses for the Fall and Winter terms for limited in-person learning activities and use of services.

How can I get one?
Non-medical mouth and nose coverings will be available for pickup at:

  • YU-card office (200 William Small Centre, Keele campus)
    • Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Parcel Pickup Outlet location (in York Lanes opposite the Bookstore, Keele campus)
    • Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Housing & Hospitality office (1 Greenhouse, Glendon Campus)
    • Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you have a YU-card, present your YU-card to receive non-medical mouth and nose coverings. If you do not have a YU-card, you may provide your student or employee number. One package will be provided per YU-card holder, student or employee number.

What will the non-medical mouth and nose coverings be like?
The non-medical mouth and nose coverings are red in colour with the York logo in white on the outer layer. They will consist of two layers of 100 per cent cotton fabric and have adjustable ear loops, fitting securely to your face and covering your mouth and nose. The design meets the minimum specifications of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sewn cloth face covering design. The logo will be situated on the outer layer of the non-medical mouth and nose coverings, indicating which side faces out, so that you will know which side may be contaminated after use.

When will they be available?
A supply of the non-medical mouth and nose coverings packages are available now, for community members approved to work or reside on campus.

Coverings will also be available as of late summer for students and staff who will be returning to campus in the fall for approved in-person learning or to use designated study spaces or services. This offering will be available until December 31  at which point the University will reassess based on guidance from Toronto Public Health.

If I want to get my own non-medical mouth and nose coverings, where can I find information about how to buy or make one?
It is suggested that you follow reputable sources of information such as those listed in the reference section below. If you do purchase your own non-medical mouth and nose coverings, please follow the instructions that come with it. You can also reference the instruction sheet that comes in York’s non-medical mouth and nose coverings package.

Sincerely,

Lisa Philipps
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Sheila Cote-Meek
Vice-President Equity, People & Culture

 

References:

Public Health Agency of Canada - https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2020/04/ccmoh-communication-use-of-non-medical-masks-or-facial-coverings-by-the-public.html

Public Health Agency of Canada - https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2020/05/statement-from-the-chief-public-health-officer-of-canada-on-covid-194.html

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks.

City of Toronto Bill 511 (By-Law-2020: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/bills/2020/bill0511.pdf