Headed to post-secondary campuses in Hamilton, Niagara? You'll have to wear a mask

Post-secondary campuses are requiring that visitors and workers wear face masks on campus in some — if not all — of their buildings.

Face masks required to enter some — if not all — campus buildings

Post-secondary institutions in Hamilton and Niagara are requiring that people wear face masks to enter some parts of their campus. (Francois Vigneault/Radio Canada)

Anyone headed to post-secondary campuses in Hamilton or Niagara will have to come prepared with a face mask, as schools say they'll be required to gain access to some — if not all — of their buildings.

McMaster University, Mohawk College, Redeemer University, Brock University, and Niagara College all have protocols on face masks in place, but with various stipulations on where they apply. 

At the moment, face masks are only required to be worn inside some of McMaster University's buildings. Visitors and workers at Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery and the Health Sciences Centre will have to wear them to be in line with universal masking in hospital settings.

But a school representative confirmed that while other buildings at McMaster are open, face masks are not required to be worn to enter them. Instead, in keeping with public health guidelines for "when safe physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained," wearing face masks in these spaces is only being recommended. 

When it comes to the fall, the representative said that since no in-person classes are planned, human presence will be "minimal." 

At Mohawk College, where students have started to return to campus this week, the rules are clear cut — you must have your own non-medical face mask to enter.

The school says that with the exception of programs that need personal protective equipment, it won't be providing masks to students or workers. Instructions have been posted on its website on how to make your own reusable face mask. 

It also won't require anyone with difficulty breathing or those who cannot remove the mask without assistance to wear one. 

Among other protocols, Mohawk is also implementing a sign-in process and daily health screening questionnaire that must be completed to step foot on campus.

If individuals answer yes to any of the questions — which revolve around experiencing symptoms like a fever and exposure to COVID-19 — they won't be allowed to enter. 

In Redeemer University's plans for the fall, all faculty, students and staff members will be given three kinds of protective equipment: a two-ply cloth mask, a face shield, and a personal, portable barrier that is currently in development. 

Personal areas like offices and residences will be exempted "safe zones," while hallways, classrooms and bathrooms will all require wearing at least one type of protective equipment. 

Brock University has ordered branded face masks to give out to people who have to be on campus. (The Brock News/Brock University)

Brock University in St. Catharines has also said that anyone entering on-campus buildings will have to wear a non-medical face mask if they're able to do so.

The school is giving out non-medical masks at its campus entry points, where security is also screening those coming on campus.

"Brock-branded reusable fabric face coverings" will be given out for free to those who have to come on campus. The university expects the masks to arrive sometime in the coming weeks and will also sell them in the campus store.

While Brock isn't mandating that people have to wear their masks in single-person offices, they do have to be worn in areas where physical distancing isn't "possible or predictable," such as hallways, elevators, classrooms and restrooms. 

Exceptions are being made for those who can't wear a covering for health reasons, such as having a respiratory disease.

Niagara College has said that right now, face masks aren't mandated but are "strongly recommended" in line with public health. A couple of weeks ago, the college posted on its website that plans were in motion for students and employees on campus to receive two reusable face masks to "support the expected use of masks when physical distancing isn't possible."

With files from Samantha Craggs