Updated PSOM masking guidance


Dear Colleagues,

I write to clarify some questions we are receiving about masking, as we appreciate there is some ambiguity in masking directives provided by the University and Health System. Masking remains an essential safeguard during this pandemic, and as the virus evolves, so, too, are guidelines to ensure the highest level of safety.

At this time, the masking standard at the Perelman School of Medicine for our PSOM and UPHS facilities is the requirement of surgical-style masks or K(N)95 masks

Across campus, consistent with University and Health System guidelines, cloth masks will no longer be allowed as the sole face-covering.  Specifically:

§  PSOM and UPHS Buildings:  We encourage non-clinical staff/faculty to follow University masking guidelines when in PSOM buildings. You may wear a surgical-style mask or a K(N)95 mask; if you choose to wear an N95 mask, realize that it must be fit-tested to ensure full effectiveness [information to help vet potentially counterfeit N95s can be found here].  A poorly fitting KN95 or N95 mask may be less effective than a snug surgical-style mask.

Clinical staff/faculty should continue to follow UPHS guidelines, which also explain why double-masking with a cloth mask is not routinely recommended in healthcare settings, as cloth masks lack fluid resistance. 

§  Non-PSOM University Buildings: across the rest of campus (which is considered a community setting), per the University’s recent communication, double-masking is required in University buildings (while a cloth mask is no longer considered acceptable as a face-covering alone, it can be used when double-masked with a surgical-style mask underneath).

Our colleagues at Environmental Health and Radiation Safety have thoroughly summarized guidance on Universal Mask and Cloth Face Covering Precautions that I encourage you to review.  In addition, surgical-style masks are available at all PSOM staffed entry locations (BRB, CRB, Johnson Pavilion, and Stellar Chance Security Office) upon request.

Lastly, to support our campus-wide sustainability efforts, we encourage you to coordinate with your department to facilitate the purchase and placement of a disposable mask recycling bin for your work area.  More information can be found here.

Thank you,


Jon Epstein, MD