Policy: Mandatory Face Masks on Campus During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated January 4, 2022

Based upon current scientific evidence and community transmission of COVID-19, Goshen College requires that all employees, student-employees, students, contractors and guests properly wear a face mask when on campus in shared public indoor spaces.

Shared indoor public spaces, where masks are required, include:

  • foyers, elevators, hallways, restrooms, classrooms, public event spaces, gathering spaces
  • public dining areas when NOT actively eating or drinking
  • while driving or riding in a vehicle with others for a college-related activity/business

Where masks are not required (use left to personal judgment):

  • residential spaces: res hall floor, campus apartment or campus small group housing with floormates or housemates
  • in a private office
  • during an indoor physical workout or competition in the Rec-Fitness Center
  • public dining areas when actively eating or drinking
  • outdoors
  • children under age 2 (a face mask may cause such a child to suffocate). An adult should supervise use of face masks by children age 3 to 12 to avoid misuse.
  • any individual, in an emergency, who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face mask without assistance

Off-campus: Given that there continues to be substantial transmission of the virus in our county and based on CDC guidance, we strongly recommend that all individuals — whether you are vaccinated or not — wear a mask in indoor public spaces when off-campus.

Face mask quality

Mask quality makes a difference in terms of effectiveness. While cloth masks are very acceptable, we encourage all campus members to wear a KN95 (best) or surgical masks (better) if feasible. In general, campus members need to purchase their own masks.

Face shields

Face shields may be worn by employees or students without a mask in very limited circumstances, including when instructors and students need to demonstrate something facial, such as while lecturing, or in music or language instruction. This should be kept as brief as possible, and the individuals should maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet and more if possible. If an instructor needs to move among students while in a classroom, a face mask should be worn.

Accommodations to wear only an approved face shield

In addition, accommodations to wear an approved face shield will be provided for:

  • individuals who have been advised by a medical professional that wearing a face mask may pose a risk to the person wearing the face mask for physical or mental health-related reasons, and receive a medical exemption from their doctor or therapist
  • individuals with a physical disability that prevents easily wearing or removing a face mask
  • individuals who are deaf and need to remove the face mask to use face and mouth movements as part of their communication

In such circumstances, students should be in contact with and provide documentation to the Academic Success Center and employees should be in contact with the Human Resources Office.


This policy will remain in effect until further notice, or until health guidance supports modification.

Created May 13, 2020 by the Goshen College Crisis Management Team. Updated February 12, 2021; August 5, 2021; October 27, 2021; and January 4, 2022 by the Pandemic Task Force.