Masking


Emory University distributes three-ply surgical masks (procedure masks) for students, faculty, staff, and visitors through mask kiosks across campus. Learn more about Emory’s mask policy and guidance below.

Policy

Masks are optional indoors in most spaces on Emory’s campuses. 

Exceptions include the following:

  • Masks will still be required on all Emory shuttles and public transportation until further notice.
  • Masks will still be required indefinitely in clinical, patient care, and select research facilities on campus, including but not limited to Student Health Services.

Should health indicators change or heightened risks emerge, indoor masking requirements may be reinstated.

As we adjust to living with COVID-19 in a highly vaccinated community, many will welcome this new change while some may have concerns. “Mask optional” means it is each individual’s personal choice to wear a mask or not, and our collective community response must be one that honors and respects these choices. Anyone who needs to or prefers to wear a mask is encouraged and welcome to do so.

For those who are in high-risk categories or require additional support, please visit the Resources page or use the contact form.

Types of Masks

Mask TypeProsCons
N95
  • Requires a fit testing through EHSO
  • Not as effective if worn improperly
  • Can be uncomfortable to wear for longer periods of time
K95
  • Filters approximately 95% of COVID-19 particles
  • Can be molded to wearers’ face
  • Comfortable to wear for longer periods of time
  • Not approved by NIOSH
  • Masks are manufactured in China and can be difficult to obtain
K94
  • Filters approximately 94% of COVID-19 particles
  • Can be molded to wearers’ face
  • Comfortable to wear for longer periods of time
  • Not approved by NIOSH
  • Masks are manufactured in Korea and can be difficult to obtain
Three-Ply Surgical Masks (Procedure Masks)
  • (When air gaps are flattened/sealed) filters approximately 90% of COVID-19 particles
  • Accessible
  • Comfortable to wear for longer periods of time
  • Users may need to twist ear loops or wear a cloth mask on top of surgical masks to better seal out air pockets
Cloth masks
  • Accessible
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable to wear for longer periods of time
  • Variable filtration
  • Users may need to double mask to seal out air pockets and add layers of protection

Masking Guidance

The most important factors to consider when choosing a mask are fit, quality, and consistency.

Fit: A properly fitting mask should cover both the nose and mouth. Air should not escape from a mask when a person exhales. If exhaling causes an individual’s glasses to fog, the nose bridge on the mask needs to be pinched tighter to the face.

The CDC has shared recommendations for improving the fit of different kinds of masks on its website. For example, the fit of three-ply masks can be improved by knotting the ear loops and folding excess material under the edges of the mask.

Quality: A quality mask has multiple layers to filter out particles. Cloth masks vary in quality, so it is difficult to determine how effective they are at filtering COVID-19 particles. Cloth masks can be protective if they are well-fitted and have multiple layers. Look for cloth masks with adjustable ear loops, nose bridges, and a filter pocket.

Consistency: Masks that act as respirators (like N95 masks), while high quality, require special fitting, and can be uncomfortable to wear for longer periods of time for those in non-health care settings. It is important to wear quality masks that fit well and can be worn comfortably for a long period of time.