UNMC leaders have purchased tens of thousands of red, UNMC branded cloth masks to distribute to faculty, staff, students -- and their families -- as it prepares for the safe return of in-person teaching, learning and working.
UNMC also purchased and delivered 500 youth masks for children at the UNMC Childcare Development Center.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that everyone wear a mask and having washable cloth masks is more environmentally friendly than disposable masks," said Robert Jennings, UNMC's director of procurement and materials management.
UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., agreed. "Throughout this pandemic, our No. 1 priority has been the safety of our students, faculty, staff and their loved ones. Providing masks to our UNMC family is an important step as we continue to navigate the pandemic and protect the health and wellbeing of our entire community. This is one of the many evidence-based ways that we protect each other and the community that we serve every day."
Masks are required for traversing the UNMC campus (even outside) and campus buildings, as well as for in-person instruction involving close contact and for open office arrangements. Masks do not need to be worn in personal offices if no other personnel are present.
"A recent study in The Lancet found that physical distancing and the use of masks were the two best ways to prevent transmission of COVID-19," said Dele Davies, M.D., senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. "By providing cloth masks to our students, faculty, staff and their families, we can continue to help slow the spread of this virus, which remains in our community."
To prevent duplicate requests, department administrators - at all UNMC locations -- are tasked with electronically submitting orders for their entire department. Designated individuals in each college will submit orders for their UNMC students and, upon receipt, distribute the masks accordingly.
While the campus has not received its full shipment of cloth masks, Jennings said it will begin filling electronic orders immediately. All faculty, staff and students initially will be issued one free mask, he said, with the possibility of requesting up to three more for family members once the full shipment arrives. Department administrators will be notified when orders may be placed for family members. Once an order is placed, masks will be sent to the administrator who placed the order within two days.
UNMC will continue to provide disposable procedural masks for employees on campus, Jennings said.
What fabric are these masks made from?