Masking Policy

What is the latest guidance for wearing masks while on the Oxy campus?

Updated 1/20/22

Current Oxy guidelines, consistent with L.A. County guidance, require all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask indoors in public/common environments, unless in a private office or room with the door closed.

Consistent with L.A. County January 2022 guidance updated in response to the Omicron variant, cloth masks are no longer considered effective. The county also now requires all employees to wear surgical grade medical masks or higher quality (KN94, KN95, N95) when indoors and in proximity to others.

Given the latest guidance, cloth masks are no longer permitted indoors at the College. All community members, faculty, staff and students are required to wear surgical grade medical masks or higher quality. 

Masking is not required outdoors for vaccinated individuals, but is recommended for everyone when they cannot maintain physical distance. All community members must have a mask on hand at all times. Masking at all times is recommended for vaccinated individuals who are immune compromised, experiencing asthma or allergies, or have been recently exposed to someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection. Unvaccinated individuals must mask at all times.

Mask Availability

Staff and Faculty: Current L.A. County guidance requires employers to provide masks to employees. Oxy has a supply of surgical grade masks as well as KN95 and N95. Masks are available at the AGC testing center. In addition, beginning on January 24, the COVID Operations Group will be arranging distribution to individual departments through vice presidents and to academic departments through the Dean’s Office. (You may supply your own mask if you choose to, as long as it meets the minimum quality standard.)

Additional Masking Specifics:

  • Any community member may wear a mask at any time regardless of vaccination status. Please respect any person’s choice or need to wear a mask.
  • Students may not remove masks to eat/drink in the classroom while the indoor mask mandate is in place (or if a faculty member requires classroom masking after the mandate is lifted).
  • Indoors: All students, faculty, staff, and contractors must wear masks at all times when they are inside campus buildings. Exceptions include:
    • When one person is alone in a private space (e.g., in an individual office or in a private bedroom or bathroom); 
    • Roommates in a residence hall when both are vaccinated
    • When eating or drinking
  • Outdoors: Consistent with the latest L.A. County guidance on Omicron, we strongly recommend wearing a mask outdoors at all times when social distancing is not possible. 
    • All outdoor gatherings of 50 people or more will require masking (all indoor events already require masks).

What type of mask is okay?

  • Given the latest L.A. County guidance, cloth masks are no longer permitted indoors at the College. All community members, faculty, staff and students are required to wear surgical grade medical masks or higher quality. 
  • While properly worn surgical masks and N95s are both acceptable, the N95s (as well as KN95 and KN94) provide a higher level of protection than the surgical grade medical masks. Emmons staff may require N95s or equivalent in some cases. In addition N95s may be required in some academic settings and work settings (e.g. when participants are in close proximity with others for long periods of time).  
  • Individuals who want maximum protection for themselves should wear an N95 mask or equivalent.
  • To ensure proper mask-wearing, masks should: 
    • Completely cover the nose and mouth
    • Fit snugly against the sides of the face and not have any gaps
    • Be handled only by the ear loops, cords, or head straps (not by the surface of the mask)

For more on proper mask wearing, see this helpful video.

An illustration of a neck gaiter, bandana, and mask with a face valve all marked with red Xs

Not Acceptable

⨂ Cloth or homemade masks

⨂ Gaiters

⨂ Bandanas

⨂ Masks with Valves