Non‐Medical Masks on Campus

Effective: October 26, 2020

The University of Alberta is committed to providing safe and healthy working, living and learning environments for students, faculty, staff, visitors and other community members during COVID-19 and beyond. This section of the Safety Measures General Directives provides requirements and direction for anyone on a U of A campus, and works in conjunction with:

Mask Requirements

The university requires that all faculty, staff, students and visitors to all U of A campuses wear non-medical face masks (masks) at all times in all university indoor common-use spaces — on its property, vehicles, and leased spaces. This includes: classrooms, labs, common areas in residences, and meeting rooms. Occupants of leased properties may also be subject to additional policies and guidelines of the property’s owner or manager.

Masks are not a substitute for physical distancing; they are to be used in combination with physical distancing and other safety measures.


Limited exceptions to non-medical masks/face coverings are:

  • when in enclosed in single-user spaces (e.g., office, cubicle, study room);
  • when an equivalent or higher protection PPE is already in use (e.g., N95 or better respirator, physical shields);
  • when in personal residence units;
  • when actively eating or drinking in designated dining areas. The mask must be worn in between sips of a drink or as soon as you are finished eating;
  • when participating in an activity where a mask creates a hazard or cannot be worn, as determined by a hazard assessment (e.g., swimming, performance arts);
  • with a valid staff or student mask accommodation (see below); and,
  • outdoors, so long as you can maintain required physical distancing.

Face masks are required at all other times on all U of A campuses. When in doubt, consult the Public Health Response Team at


Individuals may be exempt from this directive when:

  • under the age of 2;
  • unable to place, use, or remove a mask without assistance;
  • unable to wear a mask due to a mental or physical concern or limitation, or protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act; and,
  • providing care or assistance to someone with a disability where a mask would hinder that caregiving or assistance.

Staff who qualify for an accommodation must discuss their needs with their supervisor, and seek a verified accommodation. Staff accommodations require medical confirmation from the employee’s physician, and will require followup from the university’s third-party disability management provider, Homewood Health, to confirm accommodation requirements. See the Employee Mask Accommodation Procedure for more information. Supervisors should seek guidance from their HR Partner.

Students seeking an accommodation from wearing a mask on U of A campuses can learn more about applying for a mask exemption and the documentation required. Refer to the Student Mask Accommodation Procedure for more information about student accommodations.


Non-compliance with the requirement to wear a mask is subject to action under campus enforcement procedures, existing university policies, agreements and laws—including, but not limited to, the Code of Student Behavior, relevant employee agreements, and vendor contract obligations.

Additional Resources