Hygiene, protection, and respiratory etiquette

Maintaining vigilant personal hygiene and respiratory etiquette is one way to care for one another and for those in our local communities. As good general practice, we advise our university community to implement the following into regular routine:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. This practice is especially important at the beginning and at the end of your time on our campuses, prior to mealtime, and after using the restroom. Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout campus and can be used when hand washing is not possible.
  • Wear a face mask. Anyone on our campus properties must wear a face covering.
  • Cover your sneezes and coughs using the crook of your elbow or with a tissue, to be thrown away immediately. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available to clean your hands, use hand sanitizer. Learn more about coughing and sneezing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Stay home if you feel sick, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Daily clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and personal items like desk spaces, countertops, cell phones, wallet, and keys.

Personal-care kits

Students, faculty, and staff have been provided a personal-care kit containing a personal hand-sanitizer bottle, a personal thermometer, and other equipment for daily safety. Hand washing is routinely encouraged and hand sanitizer is available via convenient dispensers and refill stations so that personal hand-sanitizer bottles are always full and ready for use.

Do I need to wear a mask if I stay 6 feet away from everyone?
The 6-feet rule is based on an outdated belief that COVID-19 is spread only via droplets. New evidence is emerging that shows COVID-19 may also be aerosolized and remain suspended in the air for more than 16 hours. Therefore, wearing a mask gives you additional protection against the viral particles lingering in the air. Even if you’re alone in a space, it’s important to think about who may have been in the room before you. Like the flu, viral particles from someone no longer in the space may still be in the air you are breathing. Everyone on the WWU campus will be required to wear a mask indoors and outdoors, unless they are in an office by themselves with the door closed.

I’m young and healthy, so the virus won’t be that bad for me, right?
For many patients, the virus isn’t that bad, but there’s no way to predict who will get a mild case and who will get a severe case that their body is unable to fight. The virus can trigger strokes and heart attacks in some people. There has been a concerning trend in various parts of the country during the past several weeks of younger and younger patients with no known medical problems being admitted to the hospital with respiratory distress, especially among obese young people.

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