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Reusable Face Mask Guidance

Face masks are required for all students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus in all common spaces, indoors and outdoors. This is consistent with guidance from the Governor’s office and the Orange County Health Department.

Students will be provided with one reusable, washable 2-ply cloth mask with a 4 PM 2.5 replaceable filter insert by the University. You are strongly encouraged to bring additional face masks with you. Face masks and filters will be available for a nominal charge in the Campus Store or Patient Relations at University Eye Center in Anaheim or UECLA. Each replaceable filter insert should be good for 7 days of full-time wear before replacement.

Recommended Guidance for the Use of Reusable Face Masks with Filters

Masks are now available in almost any shape and material, including cotton, polyester and nylon. Many masks come with a filter built-in or as a replaceable feature where you buy the filters separately and insert them into face masks . Having a cloth mask and inserting another fabric or material for additional filtration and protection may improve the protection offered by a reusable mask by increasing its effectiveness in filtering of particulates.

The CDC has outlined 5 criteria to keep in mind for reusable, washable masks:

  • Face masks should fit snugly and comfortably

  • They must be secured with ties or ear loops

  • They should comprise multiple fabric layers

  • You should be able to breathe without restriction while wearing the face mask (the mask must cover your nose and mouth)

  • You should be able to wash the face masks without causing damage or losing the face mask’s shape

Homemade Filters

You don’t necessarily need to buy a specialized filter to get effective mask filtration. A piece of high thread count fabric may work just as well.

Types of homemade filters that balance filtration with breathability:

  • Paper towels or Z400 blue shop towels

  • Denim

  • 120 thread bed sheets

Although the insertion of a filter will increase the overall filtration of particles, protection of the individual from the virus is not the primary purpose of these masks. Remember that the central purpose of these types of masks is to protect other people from you. It has been shown that up to 50% of COVID19 positive patients can be asymptomatic, so the purpose of these masks is to significantly diminish community spread by asymptomatic individuals.

For instructions on proper wear and removal of reusable face masks, check out these short videos: