Face Masks and Shields

RIT is mask optional indoors, with some notable exceptions. For more information, go to the Mask Guidelines section of the Community Expectations page.

Face masks are required indoors for everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status. The indoor mask requirement applies at all times, except when alone, in a private office with the door closed, in your living space, or while eating. The CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently. RIT strongly encourages double masking with a disposable mask covered by a cloth mask.

Disposable and cloth masks are available at the Welcome Center and Campus Center, as well as many other sites around campus. Employees may request KN95 or similar masks through their site safety monitors.

General Guidelines on Types of Face Masks

This video reviews the styles of face masks and coverings at RIT and how to wear them.

Woman demonstrating wearing a face shield.

Accommodation Requests for Alternative Face Coverings

If an individual has concerns about wearing a standard face covering (whether opaque or clear), they can request accommodations.

For employee requests

For student requests

Types of Acceptable Face Masks

Double masking

Double masking with a surgical/disposable mask and a cloth mask is strongly encouraged.


KN95s are an acceptable face covering. They can be reused until they no longer fit well or are damaged.

KN95 Use Instructions

Respirator Procedure for KN95 Respirators

Cloth face mask

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in areas where 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Instructions on usage, cleaning, and disposal

Woman demonstrating wearing a disposable mask.

Disposable mask

Disposable masks are an acceptable, but not as durable, face covering. They can be cleaned and worn more than once, unless they are damaged or soiled.

Instructions on usage and disposal

Woman demonstrating wearing a surgical mask.

Medical-grade surgical mask

Surgical masks are an acceptable face covering. They are durable and can be cleaned and worn more than once.

Instructions on usage, cleaning, and disposal

Woman demonstrating wearing a face shield.

Face shield

Face shields must be worn with face covering underneath, except when an employee is behind a barrier.

Instructions on usage, cleaning, and disposal

N95 respirator

N95s are a disposable type of filtering facepiece respirator. An “Information for Employees/Student Employees Using Respirators- Voluntary Use” form will need to be completed before an RIT employee is provided this type of mask. RIT will provide these respirators to those who have completed the accommodations request.

Instructions on usage, cleaning, and disposal

Fire-resistant mask

Fire-resistant (FR) masks are to be worn when working with open flames or pyrophoric chemicals.

Instructions on usage, cleaning, and disposal

It is OK to not wear a mask outdoors as long as you maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.

Students are required to wear face masks in classrooms. If a student does not wear a face mask, they will be asked to leave the classroom by the faculty member. If a student fails to leave the classroom when instructed to do so by the faculty member, that student will be subject to disciplinary action.

Face shields are not a replacement for face masks. Unless otherwise provided as an accommodation to a disability, the only time a face shield may be worn without a face mask is when a faculty member is behind a Plexiglas barrier in teaching settings and is wearing a face shield that covers all sides of their face.

No. Masks with valves do not prevent the spread of COVID-19 and they are not considered acceptable for use on campus. Any mask that has a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) allows droplets to be released from the mask, putting others nearby at risk. Simple cloth masks made of a few layers of cotton prevent most of the potentially infectious respiratory droplets from escaping into the air around you.