Safer Return at Cal Poly Pomona

Face Coverings

As of April 2, 2022, masks are strongly recommended but not required for most* indoor settings on campus. Faculty, staff and students cannot require others to wear or not wear a mask in classrooms, labs, offices, meeting spaces and other indoor locations.  

Though no longer required, wearing a mask indoors is strongly recommended, and it continues to be a highly effective way to protect yourself and our community from the spread of the COVID-19 virus and variants. The university will continue to provide medical grade surgical masks and KN95 masks to all students, faculty and staff at no charge. Read the March 24 message regarding the masking protocol update 

*In specific settings, masks will continue to be required: 

  • Healthcare, including the Student Health Center, CAPS, vaccine clinic locations, Public Health Testing Site (when not actively testing) 
  • Children’s Center on campus 
  • Quarantine/Isolation  
    • Everyone who is in quarantine/isolation must wear a highly protective mask if they must be around others.  
    • For employees: If released early from quarantine/isolation, employees must wear a highly protective mask at the workplace for a total of 10 days after a positive test result or exposure to a confirmed positive case. 
  • Additional locations and settings mandated by LA County Public Health

Face coverings are not required outdoors, but it is a best practice to wear one when attending crowded events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

As a result of a court order, effective immediately and as of April 18, 2022, CDC’s January 29, 2021 Order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect. Therefore, CDC will not enforce the Order. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.

Best Practices for Masking

While all masks provide some level of protection and are currently optional, a well-fitting medical grade surgical mask or respirator (e.g., N95 and KN95) are recommended in high-risk situations and for people at increased risk for severe disease. 

Why Wear a Mask?

Wearing a well-fitted mask is an effective means of protection against airborne viruses, such as COVID-19 and variants. COVID-19 is mostly spread from person-to person by respiratory droplets. Droplets of viruses are projected into the air when people talk, sing, cough or sneeze. Wearing a mask is essential to slow down the spread of COVID-19 by protecting others if you are infected and protects you if you are exposed to an infected person. Alternatively, you may consider wearing a mask to protect yourself during cold and flu season.

“This figure describes how people who wore a face covering were less likely to test positive than people who didn’t wear one. 56% lower odds with a cloth mask, 66% lower odds with surgical mask, and 83% lower odds with a KN95 or N95 respirator”

Do I still have to wear a mask if I’m vaccinated? 
As noted in the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination, it is strongly recommended to continue to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status to protect yourself and others in some situations. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work against evolving variants. 

What type of mask should I wear? 
A well-fitted mask covers your nose, mouth, and chin and fits snugly against your face without any gaps. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask. 

A mask with good filtration blocks the virus particles form going through the mask itself. A good filtration depends on the right materials and by using more layers. Higher grade masks (medical surgical, KN95, N95) are recommended.  

It is not recommended to wear a face shield in place of a mask or wearing clear shield-like face masks, which are different than face shields but have gaps around the face and therefore do not provide the same protection as wearing a mask. 

Visit LA County Public Health for more information on masks.

Where can I get masks on campus? 
Visit the PPE webpage for more information.

Will masks become mandatory again?
The university will continue to monitor local health conditions, adhere to public health mandates, and follow our University Risk Response Plan, which prioritizes health and safety while also protecting and supporting our mission of student success.  

As the pandemic’s course is fluid and evolving, public health officials are actively tracking regional transmission levels and other conditions, including Variants of Concern — conditions that may trigger a countywide mask mandate.  

Similarly, the university may reinstitute the mask requirement under certain conditions, such as a cluster or outbreak on campus. If conditions change, we will follow the guidance from public health experts, update our Safer Return protocols to protect health and safety, and provide timely and transparent communication to the campus. 


(Page updated 10/6/2022)