Cover your face to limit COVID-19 spread

April 9, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

You’re encouraged to cover your nose and mouth with cloth when leaving home, to further reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus per the city of Berkeley. A bandana, fabric mask, neck gaiter or other cloth barrier helps prevent those who might have COVID-19 but mild or no symptoms from unknowingly spreading it to others. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a guide to creating a cloth face covering out of materials you likely have at home.

  • The CDC and our local public health officer advise against using a surgical mask or N-95 mask unless it is a requirement of your job. Please make an effort to use your own cloth covering until campus is able to procure them. Preserve the limited supply of N-95 and surgical masks for health care workers, first responders and others who cannot use physical distance to protect themselves.

  • Continue to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you and others. A face covering is not a replacement for vigilant physical distancing. 

  • Wearing a cloth face covering is meant to protect others, not the wearer of the covering. Recent studies have suggested that it’s possible to transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. Wearing a cloth face covering decreases the chances of unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.

  • Be compassionate and stop forms of hate. We understand that wearing a mask or facial covering can impact opportunities for interaction and friendly connection between individuals. Please recognize that we are all in this together and are all human beneath our facial coverings. Avoid acts of bias, hostility, stereo-type threat, and/or false assumptions when interacting with individuals wearing facial coverings or masks. We encourage community discourse based on belonging and care for one another as we stand united against all forms of bias.

Please note that UC Berkeley is not currently requiring the use of a cloth face covering for campus employees who are performing an essential service. However, we are attempting to purchase a large quantity for future use. Given national shortages and long lead times, it could be several weeks before sufficient quantities are available. 

Employees who are normally required to wear a face mask or other personal protective equipment as part of their job are still required to do so, and will be provided with the required equipment.

Thank you for doing your part to limit the spread of COVID-19.


Marc Fisher
Vice Chancellor, Administration