Medical exemptions for masks now require documentation

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

This message was originally sent to students and employees by Kate Windsor, Director of Safety


What’s changed:

  • If you cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability, you now need approval through an accommodation process.
  • The following are not suitable face coverings:
    • face masks or respirators with exhaust valves
    • mouth shields

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and follow the latest public health advice, we have made some changes to our guidance on mandatory face coverings:

  • If you need an exemption for a medical condition or disability, you must now provide appropriate documentation to the University. You will be required to submit a completed Face Covering Exemption Request Form and work with AccessAbility Services (students) or Occupational Health (employees) to develop an accommodation plan.
  • If wearing a face covering impedes instruction, classroom instructors may be exempted from wearing a mask, but physical distancing must be maintained.

A face covering can be a medical or non-medical mask or other covering, including a bandana, scarf or other fabric that covers the nose, mouth and chin to create a barrier to limit the transmission  of respiratory droplets.

  • Masks or respirators with an exhalation valve are not suitable face coverings. These types of masks are proven to be ineffective as a source control measure.
  • Mouth shields are not a suitable face covering option as they do not fit snugly around the mouth, nose and chin. Mouth shields allow infectious respiratory droplets to spread outside the mask, and do not help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Learn more on the face coverings web page.

Thank you for doing your part to help keep the campus safe.

If you have any questions, please contact safety@uwaterloo.ca.