Face Covering Student Compliance Guidelines

Student Expectations & Compliance Process for the use of Face Coverings

Issued: 22 July 2020
Updated: 10 August 2020

We Wear Because We Care

The health and wellbeing of all students, staff and faculty, guests, and visitors to our campus is the University of Arizona’s top priority. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can be inhaled by or land on and infect people nearby. Although it is essential for anyone who is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19 to isolate at home, we now know that people who do not show symptoms of COVID-19 may spread the disease without knowing they are infected.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the most important public health measures are (i) to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet of more at all times, and (ii) to wear a face covering to provide a barrier that reduces the person-to-person spread of airborne respiratory droplets. Ongoing scientific studies show that consistent wearing of face coverings in public spaces is an effective strategy for slowing COVID-19 infections (see the CDC guidance on face coverings).

Accordingly, President Robbins has issued an Administrative Directive requiring the use of face coverings by everyone on our campuses to promote campus health and safety. The University expects the Wildcat community to demonstrate our core values of Compassion and Integrity by universally complying with the face covering directive.

Students, employees and visitors are required to wear a face covering that covers the nose, mouth and chin in all indoor shared spaces on all UArizona campuses including formal learning spaces (e.g., classrooms, laboratories, studios, etc.), informal learning spaces (e.g., libraries, study rooms, etc.), offices (e.g., administrative offices, academic advisor offices, etc.), and in auxiliary facilities (e.g., Student Union, Bookstore, Campus Rec., Bursar's Office, Residence Halls, etc.). They are also required to wear a face covering while in all UArizona outdoor spaces where continuous physical distancing of at least six feet is difficult or impossible to maintain.

All UArizona employees, including graduate teaching assistants, have the authority and responsibility to effectively manage their work environments to achieve compliance with university policies.

Face Coverings

The University will provide two face coverings at no cost to students, staff, and faculty. The University will also provide ongoing communication and education as employees and students return to campus. 

If any individual believes their disability or medical condition precludes them from wearing any type of face covering, we encourage them to contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to discuss a potential accommodation. DRC staff will explore potential face covering alternatives and other potential arrangements. Should an accommodation be put in place for a student, DRC will confirm the accommodation with the relevant instructors.

Students in formal learning spaces

Instructors are expected to ensure compliance with the face covering directive and other public health protocols (e.g., physical distancing) in their learning spaces, using the compliance protocol provided below. The requirement that students  wear a face covering in classrooms should be reinforced by each instructor in their course syllabus and articulated at the first class.

Recommended text for syllabi:
Face coverings are required in our classroom: Per UArizona’s Administrative Directive, face coverings that cover the nose, mouth, and chin are required to be worn in all learning spaces at the University of Arizona (e.g., in classrooms, laboratories and studios). Any student who violates this directive will be asked to immediately leave the learning space, and will be allowed to return only when they are wearing a face covering. Subsequent episodes of noncompliance will result in a Student Code of Conduct complaint being filed with the Dean of Students Office, which may result in sanctions being applied. The student will not be able to return to the learning space until the matter is resolved. **The Disability Resource Center is available to explore the range of face coverings and accessible considerations if you believe that your disability or medical condition precludes you from utilizing any face covering or mask option.

Students in other spaces, indoor and outdoor

All employees are expected to ensure student compliance with the face covering directive and other public health protocols (e.g., physical distancing) in our campus spaces, using the protocol below.

Compliance Protocol

Remembering to carry and properly wear a face covering requires creating new habits, so it is expected that reminders may be needed initially. Non-compliance with the directive may be due to forgetting, losing, or willfulness. In such cases, employees / instructors (including graduate teaching assistants) should follow this series of steps, as far as needed, to resolve the matter:

Immediate Actions

Step 1.

  • Partner to solve the immediate concern: Ask the student if they have a face covering with them, and, if they do, ask them to please put it on.
  • And / or, provide a face covering to the student, if possible: If disposable masks are available, provide the student with a face covering and ask them to please put it on. 
  • And / or, ask student to depart to retrieve a covering: Ask the student to please leave the space to retrieve a face covering, or to purchase a face covering from the Bookstore or from building vending machines.

Step 2.

  • If the student persists in being non-compliant with the face covering directive (e.g., does not put on a face covering when asked, or leaves the class but returns without a face covering), direct the student to leave the space:
    • Inform the student of class accessibility via Zoom, video recording, or alternate remote / online modality, if appropriate.
    • If the student expresses a preference to not wear a face covering, but wishes to remain enrolled in the class, inform them that they can choose to complete the class remotely but may not be in the learning space without donning a face covering, if appropriate.
    • Inform the student of other availability / opening times for the specific space, etc., if appropriate.
    • Perform the Follow Up Actions, described below, if the student is identified.

Step 3.

  • If the student persists in being non-compliant with the directive from an employee / instructor to leave the space, take one of these steps:  
  • Option A – Cancel class / activity: Since the refusal to wear a face covering may threaten the health and safety of others, an instructor / employee has the option of cancelling the specific class or activity.
  • Option B – Request support to remove the student: Inform the student that UAPD will be called to remove the student.  If the student persists in being non-compliant with the request to leave the space, proceed to call UAPD (520-621-8273) for support in removing the student from the space. 


NOTE: UAPD should not be called for situations in which a student is simply not adhering to the administrative directive on face coverings, but only in situations when a student refuses to leave the area when directed to do so, or if their actions become otherwise disruptive.

Follow Up Actions

Issue a written warning: If an identified student persists in being repeatedly non-compliant with respect to UA’s face covering directive, but is not otherwise disruptive and does follow requests to remediate, the instructor / employee should ideally follow up with a written warning (see sample text below). The written warning should also include notice that any subsequent violation of the directive will result in the instructor / employee filing a Code of Conduct complaint. The warning should also point to the syllabus statement, as appropriate. This written warning is a necessary step if the student is to be disciplined in such cases.

Suggested text for a written warning is provided here. Please visit the Dean of Students Office website, click on the File a Report/Code of Conduct, Face Covering Compliance then select COVID-19 Written Warning to allow Dean of Students staff to connect incidents possibly occurring in different spaces.


Subject: Warning on non-compliance with the Face Covering Administrative Directive
Dear ______, Following our conversation earlier today, I am writing to reiterate my expectations. As we discussed, the wearing of a face covering is expected in University of Arizona workspaces in order to maintain a safer environment for all Wildcats. Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. Please reference the Administrative Directive webpage for more information.  Any subsequent violation of the Administrative Directive on face coverings may result in a formal complaint to the Dean of Students Office regarding a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.


File a Student Code of Conduct Complaint: If an identified student engages in disruptive behavior by (a) repeatedly presenting in UArizona’s spaces without a face covering, even after a written warning has been issued, and / or (b) refusing to leave such spaces when requested to do so because of not wearing a face covering, and/or (c) by disrupting the ability of an employee / instructor to carry out classroom or other activities, the employee / instructor should document the disruptive behavior via the Dean of Students Office website, click on File a Report/Code of Conduct, Face Covering Compliance then select COVID-19 Formal Complaint.

Once a complaint has been submitted, the student will be prohibited from returning to the learning space / other space until they have met with the Dean of Students Office staff.  The meeting with the DOS staff will ordinarily occur within 1 academic day of the Complaint filing.  The Dean of Students Office will investigate the complaint in accordance with the Student Disciplinary Procedures (ABOR Policy 5-401). Sanctions, if necessary, will be imposed in accordance with Student Code of Conduct.