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Free, reusable cloth face coverings being provided to all employees

August 25, 2020

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all UW–Madison employees are being provided with three reusable cloth face coverings to wear as they return to campus. In addition, student employees in public-facing roles are being provided with one reusable cloth face covering for their work on campus — in addition to the two they receive in their student safety kit.

The purchase of face coverings is being centrally funded, so they are free of charge for departments and employees.

Distribution of the face coverings is being managed through a central ordering process, with select designated campus staff — for each school, college and division — having access to order from the COVID-19 Smart Restart catalog through Shop@UW. These staff were identified by the business offices on campus and have received instructions about ordering face coverings and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for their units.

Face coverings, face shields and other materials for instructors teaching in-person courses have already been ordered in coordination with school/college associate deans and are being shipped to school/college pick-up locations. Pick-up details will be sent directly to instructors from their designated unit representative.

Supervisors who have not yet been contacted by their designated staff person about ordering face coverings for their employees, or who do not know who that individual is, can find the list of designated staff in the right column of the Shop@UW online EOC PPE Request Form (those who do not know their division number can find it here). Additional staff can be added if needed.

Campus staff who have been designated to place orders for face coverings and other PPE can have orders shipped to multiple addresses, so units should work with their designated staff person to determine where to have their orders shipped.

All schools, colleges and divisions with employees returning for on-site work are encouraged to place orders now for face coverings, as well as other PPE and cleaning supplies.

As a reminder, based on current campus public health guidance (PDF), all employees are required to wear either a reusable cloth face covering or a single-use disposable mask while inside campus buildings unless working alone in a laboratory or office space. Face coverings are not required outside unless it is not possible to maintain proper physical distancing.

The use of a reusable cloth face covering or a single-use disposable mask is meant to supplement, not replace, physical distancing, good hygiene and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, which remain the most effective measures to reduce the spread of the virus in the workplace. The use of a reusable cloth face covering or a single-use disposable mask does not make it acceptable for employees to come to work if they are having symptoms. Doing so increases the chances of spreading illness in the workplace.