Columbia College Campus Face Coverings Protocol

For the safety of our campus community, Columbia College students, facilitators, staff, and visitors are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces as of Aug. 17th, 2020. This decision was made to align with the City of Calgary COVID-19 Face Coverings Bylaw and applies to all Columbia College buildings.

You will be required to wear face-coverings in all Columbia College indoor public areas such as hallways, washrooms, and elevators. You are not required to wear a face-covering in your office unless it is a public-facing area or in cases where social distancing is not possible. In classrooms, students can remove face coverings once seated, and as long as they maintain a two-metre distance from others. Visitors to campus are also required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces on campus.

Exceptions to face-covering use in indoor public spaces at the college are while eating or drinking. Columbia College protocols for public spaces reflect the guidelines outlined in the City bylaw, and are subject to change as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Before entering any building on campus, please pause and ensure that you are wearing a face covering, even if you are entering the building for just a few minutes. Let’s keep our community safe and healthy.

There are a number of reasons why individuals might not be wearing masks, and the College will not enforce the protocol for those with valid reasons.

Individuals who demonstrate a disregard for the protocol and put the well-being of others at risk, may be subject to disciplinary action that may result in sanctions that could impact employment including, but not limited to, immediate prohibition from campus and/or further disciplinary action. For students, reports will be considered through the Student Code of Conduct policy, and non-compliance could impact student status, including, but not limited to, being suspended or withdrawn from the College.

How to use a non-medical mask

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, provides step-by-step instructions for putting on, wearing, taking off and disposing of a non-medical mask.

Mask tips:

  • Before putting on the mask, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol.
  • Check the mask for damage; if damaged, discard.
  • Open mask fully to cover from nose to below the chin.
  • Place over nose, mouth and chin and secure to your head with ear loops.
  • Adjust if needed to make sure your nose, mouth, and chin are fully covered.
  • Avoid touching the mask while wearing it; if you need to adjust your mask, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water before and after you touch it.
  • Keep your nose, mouth and chin covered at all times, until you are ready to remove the mask.


Choosing the right non-medical mask for wearing in public

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, talks about what to look for in a non-medical mask and shares some dos and don’ts of wearing them.

Mask FAQ's

Where do I have to wear a mask on Campus?

You are required to wear a mask in common/indoor public areas including hallways, bathrooms, elevators and lounges.

Can I take my mask off for eating and drinking?

Yes. When you remove your mask, follow instructions to remove mask safely including washing your hands and removing mask from behind, and then storing in plastic bag. Plan to eat and drink in a location that allows you to remain physically distant from others.

Who is exempt from wearing a mask?

  • People with underlying medical conditions or disabilities inhibiting their ability to wear a face-covering
  • People who are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance
  • People who are eating or drinking at public premises that offer food or beverage services
  • People engaging in an athletic or fitness activity
  • People who are caregiving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person’s disability (for example, the ability to lip-read)
  • People who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service (for example, a visit to the dentist)
  • Children under 2 years of age
  • People in a classroom or other instructional space when physical distancing is being maintained

How do I care for my mask?

  • Store your masks in a way that protects them from getting dirty or damaged (for example in a sealed and clean storage bag)
  • Place in a dry area of your home or workplace - Identify or label mask storage bags so masks are not used by others, accidentally
  • Place the cloth mask directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine. Throw out the bag after you have used it to store used masks.
  • Launder with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
  • Do not bleach, press, iron or steam.
  • Inspect the mask prior to reuse to ensure it has maintained its shape after washing and drying.
  • Perform hand hygiene immediately after handling a used mask.

If I wear a niqab or burqa do I still need to wear a mask?

If you wear a religious garment made of fitted fabric that covers the nose and mouth, you do not have to wear an additional mask or face covering.

What is the difference between a reusable face cover & a PPE face mask?

Reusable Face Covering: These include home-made or purchased reusable cloth masks. These are cloth masks typically made of a tightly woven fabric that help prevent the spread of droplets from the wearer’s mouth. While these are helpful to reduce the risk of spreading germs to others, these will not protect the wearer against workplace exposures such as particles, vapours, or gasses, and should not be used in place of PPE. Quality, care and use of reusable face coverings may vary and generally are not standardized although there are recommendations for their quality, care and use.

Disposable/Procedure or Surgical Masks (PPE): These are disposable masks that are usually created to a quality standard. Disposable masks are discarded between uses and therefore do not require the wearer to clean, or care for, between uses. They may be labelled as medical, surgical or procedure masks. When used in conjunction with other PPE items such as eye protection, gown, and gloves, these masks provide a barrier to splashes, saliva, or spit, droplets. When not used with other PPE these masks help prevent spread of droplets from the wearer’s mouth but do not protect the wearer from exposure to the droplets of others. For work-related tasks that put individuals within close proximity of each other, such as situations where physical distancing is not possible, a procedure or surgical mask (rather than a reusable face covering) is required by both individuals.

Respirator (e.g. N95 mask, cartridge respirator) (PPE): These are masks that filter out particulates or other contaminants in the air. They are tested and certified by recognized certification agencies and other authorities. These masks provide a tight seal to the wearer’s face and must be fit tested to ensure that seal is adequate. They are generally only required during specific, high-risk medical procedures and lab activities where the wearer is exposed to chemicals/dust or droplet/airborne viruses and bacteria.

Which is the best type of mask to wear?

Using a reusable face covering has a number of advantages over disposable face coverings:

  • You can buy or make the covering using a comfortable material
  • The covering can be easily washed and used again. This might help you save money, especially if you need to regularly wear one.
  • You can make your covering using material you potentially already have at home
  • They are more sustainable and better for the environment.

There are no additional benefits in using a disposable covering versus a washed and clean reusable cloth one. It is best to use a reusable cloth covering if you can.