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Face-Covering & Social Distancing

TAMIU On-Campus Testing
Last updated: 11/20/20
For a comprehensive week-by-week breakdown, please visit our COVID TESTING DASHBOARD.

The University will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday Nov. 26 - 29, 2020. Testing results will not be posted Friday, Nov. 27, 2020.

Posting of on-campus COVID-19 testing results resumes Friday, Dec. 4, 2020.

Information on COVID-19 Testing Sites throughout Laredo is here. 
Date Total Tested Positive Negative Inconclusive Estimated Recovered Positivity Rate* Laredo Positivity Rate
Cumulative Totals 4259 72 4140 47 58 1.69% 17.51%

*The Positivity Rate is the percentage of positive test results to the total number of tests conducted at TAMIU.

Why Face-Covering and Physical (Social) Distancing?

As we return to campus, the health and safety of Dustdevils (students, faculty, and staff), especially of vulnerable individuals, is of foremost importance. The agreement to come back to the TAMIU campus includes a requirement to follow all safety regulations, including these face-covering and physical (social) distancing requirements.

The primary purpose of wearing a face-covering is to reduce the amount of virus spreading from the wearer (who may not know they are spreading the virus) into the environment and to others. The secondary purpose of the face-covering is to reduce the likelihood that large droplets containing virus generated by others may enter the nose and mouth of the wearer.

The use of a face-covering does not replace the continued need to maintain physical distance from others (at least 6 feet apart), but instead augments physical distancing and helps to further reduce the likelihood of virus transmission. Information about physical distancing is available from the CDC: Social Distancing: Keep Your Distance to Slow the Spread

These face-covering and physical distance requirements become effective immediately and remain in place until further notice. These requirements will be continually under review as more information regarding the current pandemic is available. These requirements will be amended as needed in response to conditions on campus, and in considerations of directives and/or recommendations from local and state health agencies, and the CDC.

 

Where Do I Have to Wear Face-Coverings?

In light of CDC guidelines, and to protect Dustdevils against COVID-19, it is a Texas A&M International University requirement that face-coverings (cloth face-covering, surgical mask, etc.) be worn by all individuals (students, faculty, staff, and visitors) on campus in the following areas:

 

In all campus buildings (including non-private office or residential spaces such as lobbies, reception areas, restrooms, classrooms, teaching laboratories, research laboratories, residence hallways, residence common areas, conference and seminar rooms, and break rooms, building interiors), even if an individual is alone, except:

  1. where individuals are able to work alone in a private office (consisting of four walls and a door); and
  2. during reasonable break periods to consume beverages and have meals where physical distancing is maintained.

Outdoors on campus.

 

TAMIU  recommends that all individuals on campus have at least three face-coverings available to use throughout a week in order to begin each day with a new or clean face-covering. Face-coverings should follow the current CDC guidelines and recommendations. If using cloth face-coverings, they should, at a minimum, be made of multiple layers of tightly woven cotton fabric. Some common household materials may block particles more effectively than cotton (refer to https://cace.tamu.edu/research/covid-19-mask- materials/index.html). Adding a layer of filter material within a cloth face-covering is recommended. Additionally, FDA-approved surgical masks may also be used as a face-covering.

 

What About Research Areas and Laboratories?

In light of CDC guidelines, TAMIU requires that everyone in a research laboratory or research facility on campus wear a face-covering (i.e., cloth face-covering, surgical mask, etc.) as detailed in this Texas A&M University Division of Research’s guidance: Research Guidance During COVID-19 .

Most face-coverings are not respiratory protection and must not be substituted for the proper respiratory protection that you may be required to wear as part of an individual’s research activities and duties, as identified in your respiratory protection protocol. Respirators with exhalation valves do not impede the spread of virus from the wearer, unless they contain an internal filter; hence, their use should be evaluated based upon the needs of the situation. Additionally, most cloth face-coverings will not have the flame resistance found within FDA-approved surgical masks or FDA/NIOSH-approved filtering face piece respirators. In research settings and situations involving heat or open flame, an FDA-approved surgical mask or filtering face piece respirator, as appropriate for the task, must be utilized.

If additional guidance is needed, please contact TAMIU’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety at 956.326.2756 or visit Physical Plant 212.

 

Are There Exceptions?

There are no exceptions for the face-covering requirement for students, employees, contractors, or visitors. 

Student requests for an exemption due to a disability and/or health concern (e.g., allergies to certain materials) should contact the Office of Student Counseling and Disability Services at 956.326.2230 or visit STC 128.  

No other student requests for an exemption to the face covering requirement will be entertained.  The same holds true for any and all employee requests, however, faculty will be permitted to wear a face shield instead of a cloth face covering while lecturing to facilitate student understanding.

 

All About Face-Coverings

Things to Know:

  1. Face-coverings must be used in conjunction with physical distancing (at least 6 feet apart), engineering controls (barriers between people), and/or administrative controls (reduced number of people at events and gatherings).
  2. Face-coverings reduce the spread of viruses and droplets from the wearer to others.
  3. Face-coverings reduce the likelihood that droplets from others enter the wearer’s nose or mouth.
  4. Face-coverings reduce the spread of aerosols from asymptomatic and pre- symptomatic COVID-19 carriers.
  5. Face-coverings become contaminated as you wear them, both from yourself and from the environment around you. You should treat them as contaminated and avoid self-contamination or contamination of others by unsafe handling.
  6. Wash your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds per hand washing) and avoid touching your face.

How to Wear Properly:

  1. View this video to learn how to properly put on a face-covering
  2. Face-coverings should fully cover your nose and mouth.
  3. Face-coverings should be held in place firmly with straps, ties, ear loops, or knot.
  4. When putting on a face-covering, do so by the straps and adjust it to fully cover your nose and mouth, being careful not to touch your face in the process.
  5. Once your covering is in place, wash your hands.
  6. Wash your hands after each time you adjust your face-covering.

How to Take Them Off Properly:

  1. Remove face-coverings by the straps and move it gently away from your face. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing the face-covering.
  2. If your face-covering is disposable, promptly throw it away in a trashcan—do not litter by throwing it on the ground. Do not place it into your pocket, backpack, or where it may contaminate your belongings. 
  3. If you have a disposable face-covering that you have to reuse, make sure that you store it between uses in a clean breathable container (paper bag) and be careful not to touch the inside of the face-covering. Do not store a used faced covering in an airtight container.
  4. If you have a reusable cloth face-covering, make sure you wash it after each use (a washing machine is fine). Learn more about how to wash your face-covering.
  5. Wash your hands after handling a used face-covering.

 

More Face-Covering FAQs

A face-covering is a cloth, bandana, or other type of material that covers an individual’s mouth and nose. FDA-approved surgical masks may also be used as a face-covering. According to the CDC, cloth face-coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • Completely cover the nose and mouth,
  • Be secured with straps, ties, ear loops, or knot (in the case of a bandana),
  • Include multiple layers of fabric,
  • Allow for breathing without restriction, and
  • Be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape

No. It is the responsibility of each individual to provide their own face-covering.

There are a variety of cloth face-coverings available, including FDA-approved surgical masks, that you can find online or you can make on your own following the CDC guidelines. CDC recommends at least two layers of tightly knit cotton or the more detailed Olson design by medical professionals. In some cases, face shields may be approved for use instead of face-coverings.

No, you do not need to wear a face-covering while eating or drinking; but again the 6 feet physical distance should be observed. After removing your face-covering for eating, place the face-covering in a bag to help keep the material clean and away from other people and items in your proximity. As soon as your meal is complete, wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds) or clean your hands with hand sanitizer, put your face-covering back on, then clean your hands again. View this video from the University of Nebraska Medical Center to learn how to properly put on a face-covering

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Can't Find Your Answer?

Take a look at the TAMIU Back Together Plan for Fall for students, faculty and staff. Still have questions? Send an email to answers@tamiu.edu with your question. If you'd like, include your contact email and phone number.

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