Ohio University

44.102: Interim Administrative Policy Regarding Epidemic, Pandemic and Community Health Requirements, Face Coverings


Approved for interim use in accordance with Policy 01.001


August 26, 2020

Initiated by:

Stacey Bennett | General Counsel

Endorsed by:

Elizabeth Sayrs | Provost

Approved by:

M. Duane Nellis | President

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Purpose

    This interim policy is intended to provide Ohio University with the ability to take appropriate community health measures to address threats caused by transmittable disease, epidemics, pandemics, and other threats to the health and safety of persons associated with Ohio University. Faculty, staff, student organizations and students of all campuses are all members of the Ohio University community (“community members”). Being part of a public university requires that all community members have an obligation to protect personal health as well as each other. To reduce the risk of exposure to serious illness from infectious disease and other threats to public health, all community members have a vital role in limiting the threats to health and safety.

  2. Interim Policy

    This interim policy applies to all faculty, staff, students and student organizations while conducting any activities on or off campus and to visitors of Ohio University while present at any university location.

    1. Authority to establish health requirements

      The President, or his or her designee, in consultation with the Chief Medical Affairs Officer 
      (“CMAO”), has the authority to establish specific health requirements for community members appropriate to current community health risks as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) or the Ohio Department of Health. All community members of any campus of the Ohio University must comply with all specific health requirements promulgated under this policy that may be prescribed by the President pursuant to an identified community health risk. The President or the CMAO will communicate via electronic mail to Ohio University faculty, staff, and students all specific health requirements promulgated under this policy. All specific health requirements in effect will also be posted on the Ohio University website at for visitors.

    2. Modification or Rescission of Specific Health Requirements

      The President, or his or her designee, has authority to modify or rescind any previously established specific health requirements for community members. The President or the CMAO will communicate any modifications or rescissions of all specific health requirements promulgated under this policy via electronic mail to Ohio University faculty, staff, and students. Modifications and rescissions will also be noted on the Ohio University website for visitors.

    3. Face Coverings

      "Face Covering” as used herein shall mean a piece of tightly woven cloth, fabric, or other material that fully covers the wearer’s mouth, nose and chin and is secured to remain in place and prevent slipping. A Face Covering may be commercially made or handmade. Face shields are not acceptable Face Coverings. Community members may wear both a face shield and a Face Covering, but not a face shield alone. 

      Community members whether on or off campus and visitors while on campus shall wear a Face Covering over the individual's nose, mouth, and chin in accordance with CDC guidance as follows:

      1. When entering, exiting, or waiting in line to enter any building on any campus of the Ohio University.
      2. While in any Ohio University building and in areas that are accessible to and are intended for the use of the public or by more than one person, including classrooms.
      3. In any public transportation, such as a bus or other public transit vehicle, a taxi or ridesharing vehicle, any other vehicle for hire, or at a transit stop or waiting area for any public transportation.
      4. In any outdoor space or outdoor place where or when a person is unable to maintain or does not maintain physical separation of not less than six feet from others who are not members of their own household. For students that live in Ohio University housing, a “household” consists of roommates of the same room or suite.
      5. While present at, hosting or attending a gathering of one or more persons not members of their household. As used herein, a “gathering” is defined as an assembly or meeting of people for a specific purpose.
      6. While at any location where they are required by law, ordinance, or governmental directive to wear a face covering.
    4. Exceptions

      The requirement to wear a Face Covering as set forth in this Interim Policy does not apply to the following individuals or the following situations:

      1. Children under 10 years old.
      2. Any person while eating or drinking provided, however, while the person is not seated at his or her table or designated eating location, a Face Covering is required.
      3. Child care center individuals (including students, administrators, and teachers) to the extent that the regulations and guidelines promulgated by their regulating bodies are in variance to requirements of this interim policy.
      4. In settings where it is not practicable or feasible to wear a Face Covering such as when receiving dental treatments or while swimming.
      5. Where working with equipment or in a process where wearing facial coverings is impractical or dangerous, as determined by instructors or supervisors.
      6. Walking or exercising outdoors, so long as physical separation of not less than six feet is maintained or while walking or exercising outdoors with other members of the same household.
      7. In one’s own room of a residence hall, while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
      8. Individuals who, due to extraordinary circumstances, claim and receive a written exemption through the appropriate university process.
    5. Reasonable Accommodations

      Employees or students who are unable to wear a face covering due to a disability may request reasonable accommodations through the Office for University Accessibility.

    6. Public Health Orders

      In the event that the Ohio Department of Health or other authorities with jurisdiction issue orders, directives or other mandatory guidance (Public Health Orders) that imposes restrictions upon or mandates certain actions by members of the University Community that are similar to the matters addressed or promulgated by this Interim Policy, it is the intention of this Interim Policy that the more stringent restriction apply. To the extent that there is a conflict between a Public Health Order and any provision of this Interim Policy, the Public Health Order will control.

    7. Sanctions

      Each person within the Ohio University community must comply with this Interim Policy and all specific health requirements promulgated under this Interim Policy. Failure to comply with this Interim Policy and established requirements may result in disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct or the applicable employee process. Visitors failing to comply with the policy may be prohibited from remaining on or returning to campus.


Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. President

  2. CMAO

  3. Chief Human Resources Officer

  4. Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Safety