Face mask FAQs

The University encourages mask wearing in all shared indoor spaces, and requires it in lectures and tutorials. Find out more about masks on campus.

What is the University’s advice on mask wearing?

The points below clarify our guidance on mask wearing:

  1. Mask wearing is required in lectures and tutorial rooms by those attending (given that physical distancing is not possible in these settings). The lecturer, tutor, or sign language interpreter does not need to wear a mask, but must maintain a two-metre physical distance from others.
  2. Mask wearing is strongly encouraged in shared indoor spaces. When you are in meeting rooms, please consider those participants who might be more at risk. You are encouraged to wear a mask in the company of others unless it is clear that people are comfortable with you not doing so.
  3. At indoor events, many people are removing masks to eat and drink. While this is an individual decision, we encourage you to wear a mask where it is practical to do so.
  4. Mask wearing outside is optional.

Why are masks now encouraged, not required, on campus?

We are making sure our guidance is aligned with Ministry of Health advice and language. To help encourage mask wearing on campus we are taking measures such as supplying free surgical masks on campus, with a limited supply of P2/N95 masks for those at higher risk from COVID-19.

Mask wearing is required during lectures and tutorials as it is harder to physically distance in these spaces.

What is the Ministry of Health's guidance on masks?

The Ministry of Health recommends that you wear a face mask whenever you are in a public indoor setting, or if it is hard to keep your distance from people you do not know.

Masks not only protect against COVID-19, but also against other respiratory illnesses such as influenza.

You can find more information on the Ministry of Health's web page about face masks in the community.

What is the University doing to support mask wearing?

There are several cross-University and local unit initiatives to encourage mask wearing:

  • Surgical masks and RATs are available to collect across campus, with a limited supply of P5 /KN95 for those at higher risk of the effects of COVID-19
  • At recent student expos there have been spot prizes for those wearing masks and free masks given out to those that don’t have them.
  • There is a recording that lecturers and tutors can play before learning and teaching activities, which reminds students to wear a mask
  • Te Amaru—Disability Services has been distributing ‘Please wear a mask’ badges to students and staff. These are available from their office
  • We are refreshing our posters across campus to ensure our guidance on mask wearing is clear.

Where can I get free masks?

On campus, surgical masks and Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are available by request through the Student Service Centres for both staff and students, and from The Bubble (students only).

For those who are at higher risk of the effects of COVID-19, P2/N95 masks can be collected from the Kelburn campus.

  • For staff: Kelburn mailrooms (2 Waiteata Road, Level 3 Kirk Building, The Hub Mailroom).
  • For students: Te Amaru—Disability Services (Level 1, Robert Stout Building).

Find out more about collecting masks and RATs on campus.

Request masks and RATs on the Ministry of Health website.

How many packs of masks and RATs can I collect?

As our supplies are limited, we ask that you only collect what you need. There are multiple masks and RATs in each pack, so one pack should be sufficient per person.

How will priority for P2/N95 masks be determined?

You are not required to show any proof that you are at higher risk of the effects of COVID-19 to get a P2/N95 mask. However, there is limited stock so please only collect these if you need them.

How do I use a face mask safely?

  • Make sure it’s the right way up, and the right way around. If it’s a medical mask, the white side goes against your face.
  • Wash and dry your hands, or use sanitiser before putting your mask on. Avoid touching the front of your mask, and clean your hands if you need to adjust it.
  • Dispose of your mask or store it safely after use to avoid contamination, and wash your hands after removing your mask.
  • Masks should be changed when they become damp, damaged, or dirty.
  • You can tie a knot in the loops to tighten your mask against your face and close any gaps.

You can find more advice on how to wear a mask safely on the Ministry of Health website.