Face masks - general guidance

Current face mask requirements

Wearing a mask can help protect you and those around you. To use a mask properly you should:

  • wash or sanitise your hands before putting on, taking off or changing masks
  • make sure it covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly under your chin
  • avoid touching the front of your mask while wearing or removing it
  • keep it in place – don't hang it around your neck or under your nose
  • minimise the removal of masks – this decreases their effectiveness
  • wash and dry reusable masks after use and store in a clean dry place
  • do not use masks if they are wet or dirty

Mask fit

Well-fitted and comfortable face masks provide the best protection.

Choose one that fits you well – aiming for no gaps along the edges or around your nose. Ideally it will be comfortable when being worn properly, so you can keep it on for the time you need to.

  • Check for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask.
  • Make sure no air is flowing from the area near your eyes or from the sides of the mask.
  • If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.

Facial hair

Evidence shows beards can cause an impaired seal, which may increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

If you have facial hair, you should consider the type of mask you wear and make appropriate adjustments.

Cloth masks

If you opt for a cloth mask, we strongly recommend they have:

  • a proper fit to prevent leaks
  • multiple layers of tightly woven and breathable fabric, or fabric that blocks the light – avoid single layer masks
  • a nose hook/clip

Surgical masks

Surgical masks are disposable masks with an Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) number. Surgical masks protect the nose and mouth from large and small droplets.

The University has surgical masks available for campus attendees who have forgotten or don't have access their own mask.

P2 masks (or equivalent)

Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) approved P2 or equivalent masks , when worn properly and consistently, provide a higher level of protection than surgical or cloth masks.

  • They offer protection from exposure to small airborne particles
  • To be effective, a tight facial seal is necessary, which can become uncomfortable from prolonged use
  • Minimise the removal of masks – this decreases their effectiveness. Once the mask is on, do not remove unless necessary (ie: for clear communication while teaching) or until you are outside.

When to use a P2 or equivalent mask?

Some settings will require the use of a P2 or equivalent mask based on a local risk assessment or Standard Operating Procedure. Masks will be provided by local areas for staff and students in these settings.

You may also choose to wear one in the following situations:

  • If you are in a position that interacts with large numbers of people in close proximity
  • When physical distancing is not possible
  • If it makes you feel safer

Students wishing to use a higher-grade mask to feel more comfortable when attending campus can access P2 masks after registering with the University. Note, you must show your confirmation email at collection points to receive your P2 masks.

Staff may also access P2 masks by presenting their staff ID card at these campus distribution points.