Face Masks and Coverings on Campus Policy

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 on campus 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.

The use of face masks/coverings is most effective when everyone participates and is in combination with hand washing, physical distancing and self-screening for symptoms of possible illness.

The college will provide all employees and student workers with one reusable face mask/covering, including clear face masks/coverings for special communication needs. 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. As we begin to implement this policy, please experiment with various kinds of face masks/coverings to find what will be most comfortable and provide the best protection. You may also provide and wear your own face mask if you prefer.

Policy

We require that a face mask/covering be worn when in a shared space or when encountering people within a 6-foot radius of yourself, indoors, or outdoors.

This would include:

  • walking or working in common areas such as shared work areas, foyers, breakrooms, mod areas, elevators, stairways, hallways and office reception areas
  • classrooms and other group meeting spaces
  • in some circumstances, even when physical distancing is possible
  • multi-user restrooms
  • working side by side with another employee
  • room or enclosed area where other people are present and are unable to maintain a 6-foot radius

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)
  • someone operating a lawnmower or otherwise working by themselves indoors or outdoors
  • people working or walking alone on campus (but have your face mask available)
  • individuals who have a medical reason not to use a face mask/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 or they may purchase one in the bookstore and charge it to their student account. If students arrive to class or a meeting without a mask and one is required, they will be asked to get a mask by returning to their dorm rooms or by purchasing one at the bookstore. After-hours event managers will have a supply of disposable masks that students may also charge to their student account. If masks are needed and someone refuses to wear a mask, they will be asked to leave the classroom or meeting. Employees who arrive at a meeting without a mask and one is required will be asked to go and get their mask, or may be asked to leave the meeting. Patterns of non-compliance may fall under 502: Progressive Discipline.

Obtaining a Face Mask/Covering

Currently, if you do not have your own reusable one, face masks/coverings can be acquired by contacting Student Life (for students) or your manager (for employees).

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:

  • Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing when possible.
  • 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