Mask use on campus

Friday 10 June 2022

Current setting: Orange  

You are expected to wear a face mask in indoor settings where physical distancing is difficult to maintain, including lectures and other teaching spaces, bathrooms and lifts.

For some locations such as pharmacies, health and disability services and retail outlets, wearing a face mask is required by Government mandate (see Face masks at Orange on Unite against COVID-19).

Please refer to the Sport and Rec and the COVID-19 Protection Framework page for mask use at the Recreation Centre.

If in doubt, please wear a mask.

Wearing a mask also helps prevent the spread of other respiratory diseases such as seasonal flu and measles, amongst others.

You may also wear a mask in lower risk settings – it is a personal choice that will enhance the safety of all. Please be respectful of those who choose to wear a mask.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to wear a mask in lectures?

We expect everyone to wear a mask in all teaching and learning spaces, particularly if distancing is difficult.

Staff do not need to wear masks in teaching spaces while presenting if they can maintain physical distancing of at least two metres. This also applies to staff training courses.

What if someone needs to lip-read: how will this be accommodated?

People need to lip-read for a range of reasons, including having a hearing impairment or auditory processing disorder, or being an English language learner. See-through masks are a good option if they’re available. You can also use Zoom to support participation at in-person events, by starting a Zoom meeting and enabling live transcription. You don’t need to use video, you just need a microphone that picks up the voices of those speaking. People in the room who need the transcription can simply join the meeting on their phone or laptop to see the live transcription.

Zoom Support has a helpful article, Managing closed captioning and live transcription.

Do I need to wear a mask at my desk or in my office?

You do not need to wear a mask at your desk or workstation. 

However, you are expected to wear a mask:

  • In common areas where you are likely to sit, stand or walk within one metre of anyone else
  • In areas where you are sharing an indoor space with others for a long time – e.g. offices, laboratories or long meetings – and a two metre distance cannot be maintained
  • In meetings, events and gatherings in indoor spaces – even for just a few minutes – where a one metre distance cannot be maintained or ventilation is poor
  • If you need to do close proximity work with another person – i.e. within one metre of them – for any duration
  • In any other areas where distancing is difficult, e.g. lifts and corridors

What is a safe distance from others, and when should masks be worn?

Physical distancing is not just about physical distance. Other factors such as the length of time you are near another person and the ventilation in the area also affect the risk of transmission. Since the Delta and Omicron variants arrived it has become clear that the risk of transmission cannot be eliminated – it may only take a few seconds for infection to occur – however, that risk increases the longer you are in the vicinity of an infective person.

For these reasons the consistent minimum advice from government at all levels of the COVID-19 Protection Framework is that mask wearing is encouraged when indoors in public places.

Why would I wear a mask on campus if I am not required to?

An article from earlier in the pandemic explains this succinctly: 'Why we’re adding masks to our Covid-19 toolkit'.

Covid has been shown to transmit via droplets and aerosols caused by coughing and sneezing. For this reason, physical distancing alone is not enough: if an infectious person is wearing a mask, and you are too, infection is much less likely. This is especially important in areas where you would expect to encounter others – when visiting or passing through foyers, corridors, lifts, stairways, bathrooms and kitchens.  

What if I can’t wear a mask?

If you are unable to wear a mask – for example, you have an exemption card due to a disability or health condition – please discuss this with your manager or academic supervisor who will discuss alternative arrangements and reasonable adjustments with you.

Is there any advice on choosing, wearing and cleaning masks?

The Ministry of Health has published guidance COVID-19: How to use a face mask safely.

Are masks provided?

You are asked to bring your own masks with you, however as a back-up, they are available from Security at 24 Symonds Street and the AUSA offices in Alfred Street. To ensure students have no barriers to wearing masks, mask-dispensers have been installed near main entry points in a number of buildings across our campuses (details on Mask dispenser locations). Some on-campus retailers also sell masks, including Campus Pharmacy and Munchy Mart.

What about other control measures?

Alongside mask-wearing in some areas, we will continue to apply other Covid-19 control measures: good hygiene practice, regular cleaning and maintenance of our facilities and workspaces, and when appropriate, physical distancing and continued testing for Covid-19.