Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Additional guidance to research community on non-medical face coverings

July 22, 2020

The university has announced that, effective July 24th, it is implementing measures that call for non-medical face coverings/cloth masks to be worn in public and common spaces inside buildings. The following is additional guidance for laboratory spaces when approved research is being conducted:

  • Wearing of medical-grade masks and other personal protective equipment may be required for protective purposes in some labs; those requirements have not changed.
  • In those instances when researchers are working in a laboratory space conducting approved research and it is possible to maintain the physical distancing guidelines, it is not a requirement to wear a non-medical face covering/mask.
  • Anyone engaged in approved human subject research must wear face coverings/cloth masks.
  • Important safety measures: 
    • Face coverings/masks used in laboratories where there are flammable materials present need to have at least as high a flame resistance rating as a lab coat; many non-medical cloth face coverings may not meet the required safety standard. 
    • The use of reusable non-medical face covering/masks may not be suitable in chemical, radiological, biological labs due to the potential for contamination. In these instances, disposable single use face-covering/masks, appropriate to the hazards present, should to be considered if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

It is important to stress, that this new measure, while an important public health strategy, does not replace the guidance to maintain physical distancing and hand washing protocols. As indicated in the University’s message, exemptions are provided for people with underlying medical conditions that inhibit their ability to wear masks as noted by KFL&A Public Health.