Face Masks and Coverings On Campus

Purpose

Hesston College believes in creating a healthy and safe environment in which our students, employees, and visitors can fully participate. In response to recent federal and state guidance regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and based upon current scientific evidence, Hesston College requires that all employees, student workers, students, contractors and guests wear a face mask/covering inside campus facilities in order to protect others and the public’s health. Hesston College will continue to update our policy following national and local guidelines and pairing it with what we feel is best for the environment in which we work and serve our students.

The use of a face mask/covering slows the spread of the virus by reducing the transmission of the virus in airborne particles by people who have the virus. Face masks/coverings are a physical display of our care of others and allow those that are more vulnerable to return to and fully participate in our campus. This is especially important because people may be infected with the virus and infectious to others before they are aware that they are sick. Even those that are vaccinated have the ability to carry the virus and infect others.

The use of facemasks/coverings is most effective when everyone participates and is in combination with vaccination, handwashing, physical distancing, and self-screening for symptoms of possible illness.
We understand that face masks/coverings can take some getting used to, but we nonetheless ask every member of our campus community to persevere in wearing them.

Policy

We require that a face mask/covering be worn when in an indoor shared space when in the presence of others.
This would include:

  • working in common areas such as shared work areas, meeting spaces, breakrooms and office reception areas
  • classrooms and other group meeting spaces
  • working side-by-side with another employee
  • room or enclosed indoor area where other people are present

It would exclude:

  • working alone in a private office or other work areas where you can be reasonably confident that the virus cannot be transmitted to other people (but have your face mask available)
  • If you are presenting to a group of people indoors, you do not need to wear a face covering while presenting
  • individuals who have a medical reason not to use a facemask/covering (see Exception section below)
  • removing a face mask/covering for purposes of communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • athletic teams, during competitions and practice, who will abide by the regulations set by the conference

Supporting Behavior Change

This policy will succeed if all of us are motivated out of care for each other and our community. We will seek to be kind and supportive, but also accountable, as we respond to one another and change our collective behaviors. If someone forgets to wear a mask when it is needed, we will seek to offer one or ask that they get one.

Students will be asked to return to their rooms to retrieve their mask. If masks are needed and someone refuses to wear a mask, they will be asked to leave the classroom or meeting. Patterns of non-compliance may fall under the Student Community Standards or for employees 502: Progressive Discipline.

Face Mask/Covering Dos and Don’ts

Face masks/coverings are only effective for protection if they are handled, worn, stored, and laundered or disposed of properly. Face masks are only one part of an effective COVID prevention strategy and must be implemented in conjunction with physical distancing, hand washing, and rigorous cleaning of shared surfaces. Reusable masks should be washed frequently with warm soapy water.

A mask or face covering can be made of a variety of synthetic and natural fibers, including cotton, silk, or linen. Ideally, a mask or other face-covering has two or more layers. A mask or other face-covering may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, bandanas, or t-shirts.

Do:

  • Practice proper hand hygiene. Before and after handling the face mask/covering (to put on, adjust or take off), either wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to reduce cross-contamination risk. The outside of the face mask/covering is considered dirty.
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin, trying to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily.
  • Mark the outside of the face mask/covering in some way so you can easily identify which side is the outside of the face mask/covering, and handle it accordingly. Some individuals mark the outside with their initials in permanent ink.
  • Keep a bag handy for storing the face mask/covering every time you take it off. Always store a face mask/covering in a clean place. Never store it in a purse or pocket. Consider using a colored thread to identify your mask if it resembles others.
  • Wash a reusable face mask/covering after use (at least daily).

Don’t:

  • Touch the outside of your mask/covering while it is on your face.
  • Use a mask continuously for several days without washing it.

Exceptions

If there is a medical reason that you are unable to wear a face mask/covering, please contact the following to discuss alternative options:
Students: Kristin Kaufman, Student Success Coordinator, kristin.kaufman@hesston.edu, 620-327-8213
Employees: Monica Miller, Director of Human Resources, monica.miller@hesston.edu, 620-327-8265