Face masks – general guidance
Face masks are welcome everywhere on campus. Wearing a mask can help protect you and those around you.
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
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.
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.
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 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),
- 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 .