Face coverings now required on campus

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos and Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher sent the following message to essential employees and supervisors Tuesday:

You may recall that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recently recommended that everyone wear face coverings when away from home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please be aware that this is now mandatory in the City of Berkeley, including our campus.

Late last week the City of Berkeley’s Health Officer issued an order requiring that essential businesses such as the campus require their employees to wear a face covering at work, subject to specific exceptions.  We are now requiring that our faculty and staff who are on campus wear face coverings.

UC Berkeley is providing each employee who works on the campus with a face covering or mask. Unless an employee already has  face coverings or masks or has been directed by their supervisor to use their own department’s supply or another supply of masks, Environment, Health & Safety officials will offer masks from a limited stock of surgical masks readily on hand.  The campus will move to providing cloth face coverings when the cloth face coverings purchased arrive later this month.

The surgical masks will be distributed to essential employees at the Hazardous Materials Facility (HMF), 1 Frank Schlessinger Way (enter from Oxford Street; facility is on the right) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, 4/24, Friday, 4/24, and Monday, 4/27.

Faculty or staff picking up masks will be asked to show a Cal ID. If you are not designated as an essential employee or do not have an urgent need to be on campus, please do not come to campus to get a mask.

Face coverings are required for those who work in shared spaces and those performing work in which they encounter the general public. The face coverings must also be worn in common areas indoors, such as hallways and stairwells.  You are not required to wear a face covering when you are the sole occupant of a room, such as your office.

If you have a medical or disability-related reason why it is not appropriate for you to wear a face covering, contact your supervisor to document your situation and obtain an exemption from the requirement.

Also, please be aware that if you provide service to students or the general public, you are required as part of your employment (and consistent with the requirements of the order) to refuse service to individuals who are not wearing face coverings. Such individuals are also to be denied entry to campus facilities.

Keep in mind that a face covering is not a replacement for vigilant physical distancing.

Continue to maintain at least six feet of distance between you and others.

Wearing a cloth face covering is meant to protect others, not the wearer of the covering. Recent studies have suggested that it’s possible to transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. Wearing a cloth face covering decreases the chances of unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.

Employees who are normally required to wear a face mask or other personal protective equipment as part of their job are still required to do so, and will be provided with the required equipment.

We also want to inform you that UHS is now performing COVID-19 tests for all symptomatic faculty and staff. Employees interested in testing at UHS should:

  • If mild symptoms: call the UCB Occupational Health COVID hotline 510-332-7192 for assessment and instructions (10am-4pm 7 days/week; messages can be left any time).

  • If ill: please call your own health care provider first for advice or go directly to the nearest Emergency Room.  You are welcome to call Occupational Health as above for testing if advised by your provider.

UHS is also encouraging those who are awaiting test results and those who already have tested positive for COVID-19 via another testing center to call UHS’s CONFIDENTIAL COVID line at (510) 643-8227 to inform clinical leadership.  Officials there want to offer support and services to help those through their care and recovery, and raise our awareness of the number of positive cases in the campus community. This will help UHS plan its services and guide campus decisions.  Your private information will not be shared beyond that required for public health reporting.

Thank you for continuing to do your part as we all seek to further bend the curve. And thank you for your continued work for the campus community.