Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is any equipment donned by an individual to reduce their exposure to an illness-causing agent, like the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. PPE may include items such as face coverings and masks, gloves, gowns and goggles. Personal Protective Equipment is not 100% effective and is more effective as part of a comprehensive approach to infection control.

Why Cover Your Face

When you wear a face covering, you are protecting the people around you.

Face coverings block droplets carrying viral particles from spreading to others when you cough, sneeze or talk.

See what happens when you sneeze:

What to Wear

Community | A face covering must be used when in public. A reusable cloth face covering is appropriate. 

Classrooms/Lectures | A face covering must be worn in campus facilities and classrooms. A reusable cloth face covering is appropriate.

Clincial Skills Labs | A reusable cloth face covering must be worn in clinical skills labs. Medical grade masks or other PPE, such as gloves, may be required depending on the skills being practiced.

Clinics | Wear medical grade masks and other PPE as directed by the setting and/or patient symptoms.

Choosing Face Coverings

The CDC recommends the wearing of face coverings/face masks that fit tightly to the face in order to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Some strategies for ensuring a tight fit may include double-masking a cloth mask over a paper mask, knotting ear loops to tighten a paper mask, using a mask filter, or wearing a nylon covering over a mask. 

Mask recommendations from the CDC

In most settings, a reusable cloth face covering is appropriate. In some healthcare settings, additional PPE may be necessary. Please limit the use of medical-grade PPE to healthcare settings where it is most needed.

Find CDC guidelines for your homemade cloth face coverings.

Cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face
  • Completely cover your nose and mouth
  • Secure with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Remember, your face covering should be clean! Be sure to wear and remove your face covering correctly, wash your hands after touching it, and wash it after each use.

Other PPE

Gloves are recommended when you are cleaning or caring for someone who is sick, but not for general use when out-and-about, where they will pick up and transmit germs just like your hands would. Frequent hand-washing is more effective.

Gowns and medical-grade masks are not recommended for general community use. Reserve medical-grade equipment for healthcare settings.

Face shields do not replace face coverings. Face shields may be used in addition to face coverings for additional protection in close contact and/or healthcare settings. Face shields also may be used, upon approval, as an accommodation for people with specific health or educational need.