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Mask Procedure

Ref. No. Executive sponsor Policy steward Approval authority First approved Last reviewed Effective date Next review
  1. Purpose
    1. The Nova Scotia Community College 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 recommending individuals use either reusable or disposable personal facial covering/non-medical masks while on campus and requiring individuals to use either reusable or disposable personal facial covering/non-medical masks. All persons are required to wear a mask in public spaces of the 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, staff 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, staff, visitors and contractors who are at NSCC campus locations.
  1. Definitions
Term Definition
Facial covering / non-medical mask A nose and mouth covering which 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 
  1. Policy
    1. Procedure
      1. All persons are required to wear a mask at NSCC campuses at all times:
        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);
          1. Faculty, including Achieve instructors, may remove their masks while teaching as long as 6ft physical distancing can be maintained.
          2. Students may remove their masks in outdoor learning spaces as long as 6ft physical distancing can be maintained.
        3. Individuals may remove their mask when:
          1. Outdoors as long as 6ft distancing can be maintained.
          2. Working alone in a room.
          3. Eating in a designated eating area.
          4. Eating in their cubicle.
          5. Taking medication.
          6. Alone in a cubicle while seated provided other mitigation controls are in place and deemed sufficient (i.e. ventilation, physical barriers, physical distancing, and occupancy level). Masks must be worn while standing. The appropriateness of this exception will be assessed at a campus level.
          7. Drinking beverages. 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 use of a facial covering/non-medical mask, please speak to your Supervisor or Student Services to discuss accommodations.
      5. Medical First Responders shall wear N95 / KN95 respirators during response as per NSCC Interim Procedure.
      6. Security, customer service representatives and facilities staff performing custodial duties shall wear level 3 or KN95 masks.
      7. 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.
      8. 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 facial covering/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 facial covering/non-medical mask as per this Procedure.
      3. Section 4.1 (h) (i-iv) applies to contractors.
    3. Selection
      1. Medical masks, including surgical face masks and respirators (like N95 masks), should be kept for health care workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients and those participating in specific activities requiring a higher level of protection.
      2. 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.
      3. Face shields can be used in combination with non-medical face masks or face coverings but do not replace the use of non-medical face masks or face coverings where required.
      4. NSCC strongly encourages everyone to bring their own non-medical face masks or face coverings 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 made of at least 3 layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen);
        7. be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping
      5. Non-medical masks or face coverings 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.
    4. Safe Use
      1. How to put on a non-medical mask or face covering
        1. Ensure the face covering 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 face covering 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 or face covering, 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 or face covering:
        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 face covering 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 face covering, 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
72.06 Interim Medical First Responder Mask Procedure
Government of Canada Website
Nova Scotia Public Health Authority
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