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NSCC's response to COVID-19: view updates

Mask Procedure

Ref. No. Executive sponsor Policy steward Approval authority First approved Last reviewed Effective date Next review
  1. Purpose
    1. Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is committed to following Nova Scotia Public Health requirements as a minimum standard for COVID-19 response. NSCC further recognizes the need for our campus populations to reduce the transfer of COVID-19 by requiring individuals to use either reusable or disposable non-medical masks. All persons are required to wear a mask in public spaces of all NSCC campuses even when social (physical) distancing can be maintained. COVID-19 is a work and learning environment hazard and NSCC is committed to taking reasonable and necessary measures to control COVID-19 in all our operations.
    2. This procedure outlines interim protective measures which shall be undertaken by our campus populations during the current outbreak of COVID-19 to protect the safety of all visitors, students, employees and our communities.
    3. Using a mask can reduce the risk of you infecting other people. Using a mask alone isn’t enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should also make sure to keep your hands clean, follow cough and sneeze etiquette, and practice social (physical) distancing.
  1. Scope
    1. This procedure applies to all students, employees, visitors and contractors who are at NSCC campus/site locations.
  1. Definitions
Term Definition
Non-medical mask A Non-medical mask, when worn properly, can reduce the spread of a person’s own infectious respiratory droplets to others or surfaces. These masks are not respirators (such as N95) and do not meet medical standards. They can be purchased or homemade and should meet the criteria for non-medical masks as stated at or .  In addition, they need to be three ply.
  1. Policy
    1. Procedure
      1. All persons are required to wear a 3-ply mask at NSCC campuses:
        1. In all common spaces (including but not limited to hallways, stairwells, cafeterias, elevators, vestibules and lobbies);
        2. In all learning spaces (including but not limited to classrooms, shops, study rooms, computer labs, labs);
        3. Individuals may remove their mask when:
          1. Outdoors as long as 6ft distancing can be maintained.
          2. Working alone in a room with the door closed.
          3. Eating in a designated eating area.
          4. Eating or drinking in their cubicle.
          5. Taking medication.
          6. Drinking beverages while seated in class. However, the mask must be put back on between drinks.
      2. NSCC encourages the use of individual’s own mask, brought from home.
      3. If an individual does not have a personal mask, NSCC will provide one.
      4. Any person with a pre-existing medical condition which may preclude them from using a non-medical mask, please speak to your Supervisor or Student Services to discuss accommodations.
      5. Medical First Responders must wear N95 / KN95 respirators during response as per NSCC Interim Procedure.
      6. Security, customer service representatives and facilities staff performing custodial duties must wear level 3 or KN95 masks.
      7. KN95 masks will be provided to security, customer service representatives, facilities staff and faculty.  Other employees who want a KN95 can request one from their manager.
      8. Any program requiring a specific accommodation because of the nature of the lab/field work involved will work with the Faculty, Dean and Safety Office to support.
      9. If wearing a mask creates additional hazard to the life and health of an individual performing a specific task, it may be removed for the duration of the task if the following criteria are met: 
        1. A Hazard Assessment is performed and documented, outlining the reason that the use of the mask creates additional risk / hazard for the person performing the task.
        2. A written Safe Work Procedure is developed, outlining the alternative protective measures (controls) which will be implemented by the individual performing the task, to protect themselves and others in the area of potential exposure to COVID-19.
        3. The Hazard Assessment and Safe Work Procedure have been reviewed, approved and signed by the individual’s manager.
        4. 1 Meters (3 Feet) minimum distancing must be maintained between persons while mask is off at all times.
    2. Contractors
      1. Contractors working outside of NSCC buildings while on a closed construction site are required to wear a non-medical mask at all times while on NSCC work sites as per this Procedure.
      2. Any contractors entering NSCC buildings to perform work are required to wear a non-medical mask as per this Procedure.
      3. Section 4.1 (i) (i-iv) applies to contractors.
    3. Selection
      1. Medical masks (N95) are required for use in some programs and activities to provide protection from aerosolized contact as identified in the Safe Work Procedure.
      2. All non-medical masks must be three ply.
      3. Face shields can be used in combination with non-medical face masks but do not replace the use of non-medical face masks where required.
      4. NSCC strongly encourages everyone to bring their own non-medical face masks which should:
        1. allow for easy breathing;
        2. fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops;
        3. maintain their shape after washing and drying;
        4. be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty;
        5. be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment;
        6. be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping
      5. Non-medical masks should not:
        1. be shared with others;
        2. impair vision or interfere with tasks;
        3. be placed on children under the age of 2 years;
        4. be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials;
        5. be secured with tape or other inappropriate materials;
        6. be made exclusively of materials that easily fall apart, such as tissues;
        7. be placed on anyone unable to remove them without assistance or anyone who has trouble breathing.
      6. Other face coverings (e.g. bandanas, neck gaiters, or scarves) are not sufficient to replace the use of a mask.
    4. Safe Use
      1. How to put on a non-medical mask:
        1. Ensure the mask is clean and dry.
        2. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before touching the mask.
        3. If none is available, use hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol base.
        4. Ensure your hair is away from your face.
        5. Place the mask over your nose and mouth and secure to your head or ears with its ties or elastics.
        6. Adjust if needed to ensure nose and mouth are fully covered.
        7. The mask should fit snugly to the cheeks and there should not be any gaps.
        8. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds after touching the mask.
      2. While wearing a non-medical mask, it is important to avoid touching your face. If you do touch your mask or face, you should immediately wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. You can also use hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol base.
      3. How to remove a non-medical mask:
        1. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
        2. If none is available, use hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol base.
        3. Remove the mask by untying it or removing the loops from your ears.
        4. Avoid touching the front of the mask when removing it.
        5. It can be placed in a plastic bag temporarily if you are not at home.
        6. Make sure you close or zip seal the bag while storing it.
        7. After removing the mask, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
    5.  Maintenance

      1. Home made
        1. If you plan to reuse the mask, wash it before wearing it again. Change your cloth mask as soon as it gets damp or soiled by:
          1. putting it directly into the washing machine
          2. washing it with other items using a hot cycle, and then dry thoroughly.
      2. Purchased
        1. Non-medical masks that cannot be washed should be discarded and replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled or crumpled. After use:
          1. dispose of masks properly in an identified lined garbage bin
          2. do not leave discarded masks on the ground
        2. If the purchased mask is reusable, follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  1. Procedure Supports
73.01 Occupational Health and Safety Policy (login required)
72.06 Interim Medical First Responder Mask Procedure (login required)
Government of Canada Website
Nova Scotia Public Health Authority
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