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Are masks with valves acceptable? What about bandanas or gaiters?

Masks with exhaust valves are not acceptable. This is because valves allow air and respiratory droplets to escape the mask, which results in less protection for others. Those who are wearing a mask with a valve do not meet Penn State’s mask wearing requirements.

Multi-layer cloth masks or procedure masks are the preferred type of face covering. There is evidence that single-layer face coverings, including many types of neck gaiters, are not as effective in stopping respiratory droplets as multi-layer face coverings. At this time, it is recommended that all faculty, staff and students wear a multi-layer mask or procedure mask. All face coverings must cover the nose and chin.

Guidelines surrounding the use of cloth masks are available on the EHS website and also on the University’s virus information website. If you encounter someone wearing a mask with an exhaust valve in the instructional or work setting, respond to the person as though they forgot to wear a mask. Offer them an extra mask and remind the individual to not wear a mask with a valve in the future.