Face masks – general guidance

Face masks are welcome everywhere on campus. Wearing a mask can help protect you and those around you.

Current face mask advice

How to use a face mask

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 in key locations for campus attendees who have forgotten or don't have access to 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

Removing a mask for accessibility reasons

When communicating with people who are deaf or have hearing difficulties, visibility of the mouth is essential for communication. You may remove your mask for this purpose when it would otherwise be required. This applies for people for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential, including teaching, lecturing or broadcasting. Individuals in these roles may be required to remove their mask for the purposes of accessibility.

When removing a mask for accessibility, we recommend you:

  • maintain a distance of 1.5m between yourself and others, and
  • limit the duration without a mask, and
  • only do so in a well-ventilated space (if possible),

if you:

  • are returning to campus on days 6–7 after testing positive for COVID-19 (please do not attend campus if you still have symptoms or test positive on a RAT), or
  • are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or
  • are in a setting where masks are required following a local risk assessment of COVID-19 transmission risks.

Accessing masks on campus

The University is supporting students and staff by providing access to discounted RATs and P2 masks on campus. Limited access to free RATs and P2 masks is available for students meeting these criteria. Free RATs and P2 (or equivalent) masks may also be available from some community collection points .

Collection points – RATs and P2 masks

There are collection points on every campus.

Please do not come to campus to collect a test if you are unwell. Please ask someone to collect a test from campus on your behalf or visit a community collection point.

Face masks may also be available from some community collection points.

Find your local campus collection point:

Campus Building number Building name / location Operating times*
Parkville Various Vending machine locations and instructionsVarious
Ballarat   Campus Life Desk M–F, 8am – 4pm
Burnley   Reception M–F, 8.30am – 5.30pm
Creswick   Reception M–F, 8.15am – 4pm
Dookie 505 Reception M–F, 8.30am – 4.30pm
Hawthorn   442 Auburn Rd
Level 1, main entrance
M–F, 10am – 6pm
Shepparton   Rural Health, 49 Graham St
M–F, 9am – 5pm
Southbank 863 The Hub
Vending machine near ground floor toilets –
location and instructions
Building hours
Wangaratta   Campus Life Desk  
Werribee 418 Learning and Teaching Building
Vending machine near walkway to Parasitology Building –
location and instructions
Building hours
* In-person collection points will be closed on University holidays and may offer reduced hours during non-teaching periods.

Find a community collection point