Guidance around face coverings
At DMU we're working hard to make sure that we can enjoy our campus safely. The health and wellbeing of our students and staff will always be our top priority so we've put measures in place to ensure university buildings and spaces are as safe as they can be and that we observe government guidelines. Here, you can find guidance on when, where, how and who should be wearing face coverings on campus. The UK Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have stated that face coverings are a key way to combat the spread of COVID-19 and help protect each other from infection.
Please wear a face covering if you can
To ensure that we are able to deliver a safe teaching and learning environment, and maximise the amount of on-campus interaction, we require all staff, students and visitors to wear a face covering in all teaching spaces no matter the layout unless there is a legitimate medical or personal reason for exemption. We also expect them to be worn when staff and students move around buildings or use common spaces.
We will be constantly monitoring the guidance and may need to amend our strategy accordingly. Please also follow the government guidance about how to wear a face covering safely.
The virus spreads between people who are in close contact with one another. It spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk. Droplets can also land on surfaces and objects and be transferred by touch. A person may get COVID-19 by touching the surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The latest scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering can decrease the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others. Combined with two-metre social distancing (wherever possible), regular hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes, face coverings can be an important tactic in controlling the spread of the virus.
Over the past few months since the pandemic started, the community spirit and individual acts of kindness DMU staff and students have shown to support and look out for each other have been inspiring. So, we're appealing to everyone to continue to exercise our civic and moral responsibility to make sure our environment is as safe, inclusive and positive as possible by wearing a face covering if you are able.
Some people will be unable to wear face coverings
There will be some students and staff who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others, and we need to be particularly mindful to respect their rights and dignity at this time. Some people will also for legitimate health or personal reasons be unable to wear a face covering.
Please be mindful and respectful of these circumstances and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Here are examples of exceptions to our guidance and rules on the need to wear a face covering:
- If you have a certain physical or learning disability that impacts on your ability to wear a covering
- If you would feel severe distress putting on, wearing or removing a face covering
- If you are asked to remove your covering to support communication with those that rely on lip reading or facial expressions
- If you have a health problem or condition that could be affected by wearing a face covering, for example, problems with your breathing.
People are not obliged to prove that they do not have to wear a face covering/mask. It is important to note that not wearing a face covering because it is uncomfortable or inconvenient is not a legitimate exception to our guidance and rules.
DMU staff, whether they are in teaching or support service roles, can also be issued with, and asked to wear face shields/visors if they can to enable face-to-face interaction with students who need to lip read and understand in-person communications more easily.
Face covering exemption lanyards for students and staff who want them
The university and De Montfort Students’ Union have worked together on creating two lanyard designs for those who cannot wear a face covering:
Our design has been inspired by the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower campaign and discreetly indicates to those around the wearer that there is a legitimate health or personal reason they may not be wearing a face covering.
If you are unable to wear a face covering, a lanyard (and/or a business card) to signify this, are available for any DMU student or staff member.
Students will be able to collect a lanyard by making an appointment via MyGateway.
If you are a staff member, you will need to let your line manager know that you would like a lanyard when you complete your Person Centred Questionnaire before returning to campus.
Two reusable masks for every DMU staff-member and student
All students and staff members will be provided with two reusable face coverings from the start of the new academic year. It is important that you always bring your face covering when you come to campus as it is your responsibility to protect yourself and others from the further transmission of COVID-19. Student access to face shields/visors issued by DMU for use in particular circumstances is also being explored and we will confirm our provision for this safety equipment soon.
Take a look at DMU's shared commitment to find out more about what you can expect from us and our expectations of our staff and students to make sure our university environment is safe and respectful.
You can also find out more information on the extensive health and safety measures we're implementing.
Two re-useable face coverings or face shields will be supplied for all colleagues dependent on their role. They are available via designated faculty / directorate collection points.
Students will be able to collect their two reusable masks on the following dates:
- 28 September, 2 and 6 October from 9am to 4pm
- 15, 19 and 22 October from 10am to 2pm
All you need to do is head to dedicated stands at the following campus locations and show your student ID:
- Hugh Aston The Yard breakout space
- Hawthorn lower ground floor student break out area
- Campus Centre Building (near Coffee Hut)
- Vijay Patel The Pod
Other personal protective equipment for face coverings
Please note that these guidelines are specifically in relation to combating and protecting against the spread of the COVID-19 virus and are not to be confused with, or seen as a replacement for, any personal protective equipment that may by required in undertaking high risk activities. These activities include work, study or research in laboratories where safety goggles will still be needed, or face screens and guards in engineering and design-related workshops. This is not an exhaustive list and further information will be provided as part of any health and safety induction in the use of these facilities.