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Face Coverings Guidelines in the Residential Halls

The protocols below are in line with University of Houston COVID-19 Guidelines and are mandatory for all on-campus residents. Additional information can be found at

Note: As with all the guidance and protocols related to COVID-19, the University will adjust its guidance as necessary to reflect new information and findings.

Until further notice, the University of Houston requires face coverings for all students and employees while on-campus, in the following areas:

  • Indoor public areas on campus, except where marked, even if you are alone. This includes all non-private office or residential spaces, such as lobbies, restrooms, classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, common spaces in residence halls, conference rooms, and break rooms; and
  • Outdoor spaces where six feet or more of physical distancing is difficult to reliably maintain.

Face coverings are not required in the following limited circumstances:

  • When in your own residential space
  • When working alone in a single office
  • When engaging in physical activity outside
  • When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk
  • While operating outdoor equipment if not appropriate from a safety standpoint
  • When consuming food or drink
  • When engaging in personal hygiene activities

Exceptions will be made for those individuals who, due to a specific medical condition, cannot wear a face covering and have received an accommodation. Requests for an exception due to a medical condition for students will be handled by the Center for Students with DisABILITIES and requests for employees will be handled by Equal Opportunity Services.

For more information and answers to questions about the use of face coverings, please see Face Covering FAQs.

  1. What if I live with a roommate?
    Face coverings are not required when students are in their personal on-campus residence hall rooms/suites or apartments (including private and suite-style bathrooms). When you and your roommate first come together at the start of the semester, you should have a discussion around face-covering expectations. Below is additional advice from the CDC:
    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
    • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, or eating utensils. Non-disposable food service items used should be handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.
  2. Do I need to wear a face-covering in the hallways and other areas of my residence hall?
    Face coverings are required when students and visitors are in residence hall/apartment hallways or while visiting other students’ rooms/apartments. Face coverings are also required while in common areas and community bathrooms, except for while showering or engaging in personal hygiene activities.  If residents have sinks in their rooms, then they should perform activities that require touching of the face (brushing teeth, washing face, etc.) at those sinks instead of at the sinks in the community bathrooms.

  3. If I have already had COVID-19, do I have to wear a face-covering? 

  4. What if I encounter a scenario that is not clear on if I should wear a face covering?
    You should use your own knowledge and select the option that best protects and comforts those around you.  A good standard to follow is to wear a face-covering in public settings, especially where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

  5. How will the University ensure compliance with the face-covering directive?
    Compliance with the face-covering directive will be handled like any other University policy, standard, or guideline. The person refusing or failing to comply with the face-covering will be asked to comply, and if refusal continues may be documented through our student code of conduct and/or asked to leave the common area space.

  6. How should I raise a concern about someone not adhering to the face-covering requirement? 
    Please contact the Student Housing and Residential Life staff person in the area where the infraction occurred.  The staff member head will ascertain whether the person has an exemption and, if not, politely direct the person to wear a face-covering or vacate the public area.

  7. Can students or employees be directed to vacate University property by a supervisor if they refuse to wear a face-covering? 
    Yes, unless they have received an exemption, or the area or position has been granted a waiver from the face coverings policy.  If individuals are not wearing a face-covering in a public area, then the first response should be a collegial reminder. If the individual refuses to wear a face covering, a staff member overseeing the area may direct the individual to leave the public area. 

  8. Are there limits to the design of the face-covering?
    The policy on Freedom of Expression (SAM 01.D.15) states: “Activities that are unlawful or that materially and substantially disrupt the normal operations of the university’s campus are prohibited.”