Colgate University remains a mask-friendly campus and supports those who, when making their own health decisions, choose to wear a mask in spaces where they are not required, with the following important exceptions:

Masks are required

  • In healthcare settings, including at Student Health Services
  • In classes, labs, offices, or studios if a faculty or staff member requires it
  • At large gatherings, if required by the organizer
  • Local businesses may require masks at their discretion
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 test, you are required to wear a well fitting mask for a period of 10 days.
  • If you are identified as a close contact, you are required to wear a well fitting mask for a period of 10 days.


Masks are recommended

  • For individuals with vaccination exemptions when within six feet of another person
  • For high-risk individuals when within six feet of another person
  • At large gatherings when physical distancing may not be possible

General Information

  • Ensure that you wear your masks properly, covering both mouth and nose. 
  • Poorly fitting masks or cloth masks without filters are substantially less effective than well-fitting medical-grade masks or cloth masks with filters.


Recommended Masks

  • We strongly recommend everyone on campus wear medical-style masks such as surgical masks, N95, KN95, or KF94 masks, rather than single-layer cloth masks or face coverings.
  • Multi-layered, finely woven reusable cloth masks with incorporated filters can offer nearly as much protection as medical-grade masks as long as they fit properly and snugly on your face.
  • In order for a surgical mask to be effective, it must fit properly without gaps around the outside edges or nose. To get a proper fit, it may be necessary to wear a cloth mask over the surgical mask so it pushes the edges against your face.
  • These recommendations are based on updated guidance from the CDC which continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.

The University has an ample supply of surgical masks and KN95s that can be requested.

  • Students may contact your CL or pick up masks from Campus Safety
  • Departments may contact their designated COVID-19 supply coordinator

Medical-grade disposable masks contain plastic liners, filters, and other long-lived environmentally harmful materials that do not break down readily under natural conditions. Tips to reduce your environmental impact:

  • When not in use, secure your mask to avoid having your mask unknowingly fall to the ground. Wrap it around your wrist or secure it in a pocket with a zipper.
  • Purchase a high-quality reusable and washable multi-layered filtered mask to eliminate or significantly cut down on disposable masks. 
  • You can take your spent mask to the ENST Resource room (Ho Science Center 245) for proper recycling.
  • Rotate your disposable masks to let them “rest”. This can reduce the cost and environmental impacts of using disposable masks. Once your mask is visibly soiled or shows signs of wear-and-tear, discard it.