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Updated guidance on face coverings in Stanford facilities in Palo Alto and in other parts of main campus

Categories: Health & safety, Workplace & HR

Last modified on

Effective noon on May 13, 2020, Stanford facilities located in the City of Palo Alto are subject to new face coverings requirements for essential businesses.

Highlights of the order include required use of face coverings when:

  • Working in or walking through common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
  • Occupying any room or enclosed area when other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present including coworkers; and
  • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others.

NOTE: For clarity, a face covering is not required when a person is in a personal office (a single room) when others outside of that person’s household are not present as long as the public and coworkers do not regularly visit the room. Face coverings are required when out in public and recommended, but not required, while conducting outdoor recreational activities, including walking, hiking, biking, or running.

See full detailed requirements listed in the City of Palo Alto Order ID # 11334.

In addition Stanford has further updated the requirements for face coverings on the main campus in Santa Clara County:

When are face coverings required on main campus in Santa Clara County?

Based on local shelter-in-place orders, face coverings must be worn in all Stanford buildings except residences, where different rules apply:

Instances of where it is not appropriate to wear a face covering include:

  • People who cannot wear a face covering for health reasons, including:
    • Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face covering; students in this situation should follow up with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) to receive an accommodation, and employees should contact their HR manager; or
    • Anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;
  • Any worker to the extent wearing a face covering creates a safety hazard at work under established health and safety guidelines;
  • While eating or drinking; or
  • Children 6 years old or younger.

For clarity, although wearing a face covering is one tool for reducing the spread of the virus, doing so is not a substitute for physical distancing of at least 6 feet and frequent hand washing.

Are face coverings required outside on the main campus in Santa Clara County?

When working outdoors, employees are required to wear face coverings when they are unable to maintain 6 feet physical distancing. For all others, face covering use is strongly encouraged outdoors whenever personal interactions within 6 feet are likely to occur.

NOTE: Face coverings are not required when exercising outdoors (e.g., walking, hiking, biking, running), provided persons are not passing within 6 feet of others. Regardless, people are recommended to have a face covering with them and readily accessible when exercising, even if they’re not wearing it at that moment.

For information regarding obtaining face coverings for all Stanford sites, see the following information:

Can I wear my own face covering?

 Yes, you are allowed to wear a personally owned cloth face covering. There are several options for face coverings, as long as they cover the nose and mouth. Face coverings can be made of a variety of cloth materials, such as bandanas, scarves, T-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.

The CDC has provided simple instructions on how to make your own face covering: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

Is Stanford providing face coverings?

We encourage you to provide your own face covering wherever possible, and many members of our community have already purchased or made them for their use outside of Stanford. As mentioned above, many options are available. The university is working to obtain additional face coverings and currently has a limited supply available, prioritized for front-line workers who are not able to maintain physical distancing during assigned duties. Department managers can request disposable face coverings via health-alerts@stanford.edu and Environmental Health & Safety will work with each department on their specific needs.

For a limited time, there will be face coverings available for students who have not yet been able to obtain their own. Students may check at their residential dining halls or front desks, and can also seek further help from their Residence Dean or GLO Dean.

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