Wearing a mask or face covering

Posted: Jul 29, 2020 4:21 PM   |  Updated: Jan 29, 2021 9:42 AM

NAIT Protective Services has the authority on our campuses to enforce the provincial public health order requiring masks in indoor public spaces. Read this update for complete details.

Everyone is expected to wear a mask or face covering on campus. Here is what you need to know.   

As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing masks is one of the safety measures we have adopted to protect the health and safety of our community.  

The City of Edmonton made masks mandatory in all public indoor spaces effective Aug. 1, 2020. Further, on Nov. 24, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced that masks are mandatory for all indoor workplaces. This aligns with NAIT's existing safety measures: everyone coming to campus is required to wear a mask or face covering.

Review the information on this page to understand NAIT’s expectations for wearing masks and face coverings.

On this page:

Which masks and face coverings can be worn

You should wear a non-medical disposable mask or reusable cloth mask in all indoor public spaces on campus. 

NAIT does not recommend wearing scarves, bandanas, neck gaiters or masks with exhalation valves, as these may not provide adequate protection against the transmission of respiratory droplets.  

If a scarf, bandana or home-made face covering is your only option, make sure that your face covering 

  • has at least 3 layers of cloth 
  • fits snuggly over your nose, cheeks and bottom of your chin 
  • can be worn without needing to be adjusted or touched 
  • does not hamper breathing 
  • is washed after each use, or as often as possible 

Where do I need to wear masks?

Everyone is expected to wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all indoor, public spaces on campus. These areas include, but are not limited to: 

  • Classrooms 
  • Lecture theatres  
  • Labs and workshops 
  • Computer Commons  
  • Library  
  • Study spaces  
  • Public meeting rooms 
  • Service areas 
  • Food and beverage kiosks 
  • Hallways, stairwells, elevators, pedways 
  • Washrooms
  • Underground parking at CAT and HP

Medical masks and additional PPE may be required by some program areas. Check with your instructor or program designate. 

While masks do not replace the need to maintain physical distancing, they are an additional measure to protect others around you, even if you have no symptoms. Review health and safety measures on campus and follow these requirements for coming to campus to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. 

Where are masks exempt?

You are not expected to wear masks  

  • If you are a staff member working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle or an appropriate barrier is in place
  • If you are eating or drinking in designated areas where food and beverage are allowed 
  • If you have an approved exemption from NAIT’s mask requirement (see next section) 

How to request an exemption from wearing a mask

Individuals who are unable to wear masks or face coverings due to medical, religious or other protected grounds must make a request for an accommodation from NAIT.  

For all requests, NAIT will assess the risks to community health and safety. Each situation is unique. The outcome may look different for each person. 

Requests must be  

  • submitted and approved before you come to campus  
  • supported by proper documentation (e.g. from a medical doctor professional or religious leader) 

Steps to follow for staff requests 

  • Speak with your supervisor about your request. You are not required to disclose the reason for your request to your supervisor.  
  • Human Resources will work with you and your supervisor to assess your request. You will be required to provide appropriate documentation to support your request.  
  • If your request is approved, you will have the option to obtain a mask exemption sticker for your one AT NAIT card. 

Steps to follow for student requests 

  • Book an appointment with a learning advisor, who will review your request. You will receive an e-mail with information and a preferred documentation template when you book the appointment. Appropriate documentation is required to support your request. 
  • The advisor will review your documentation and explore various possible accommodation options. They will then provide a recommendation to the program who will work with Health & Safety Services to assess if and how the accommodation can be made.
  • The timeline to review these requests is dependent on volume. Please book an appointment as early as possible to ensure there is time to go through this process. 
  • If your request is approved, you will have the option to obtain a mask exemption sticker for your one AT NAIT card. 

Accommodations apply only to on-campus activities. If you are on a work-integrated-learning site, the employer’s policies will take precedence. 

If you see individuals without masks in public places

NAIT is taking an educational approach to the use of masks and face coverings. Staff and students are not required to enforce mask use in public places (such as hallways, washrooms and eating areas).

If you feel comfortable, and would like to address the non-compliance, start with compassion. Please be respectful if you see individuals on campus who are not wearing masks or face coverings, as they may have received an exemption from NAIT. 

If the person is a staff member or student under your supervision, let them know about the province's mask requirements and NAIT's process for seeking an exemption if one is requested. Respect the individual’s privacy.  If you are concerned about the health and safety risks to others, contact Protective Services at 780.471.7477.

Where can I pick up or buy masks at NAIT?


Staff who are scheduled to work on campus can pick up cloth masks at shop AT NAIT during business hours. We will be receiving a shipment of 3-layer masks in January and will notify staff when they are ready for pickup. These masks are for staff who are required to be on campus.

Pick up your masks in person and have your NAIT ID with you. Please allow extra time during the back-to-school rush. Shop at NAIT is no longer providing free disposable masks. 

  • Patricia Campus - Masks will be distributed through Dale Thompson and Kevin Johnson.  
  • Souch Campus - Masks will be distributed through Les Fehr. 

Students, visitors and contractors 

You are expected to provide your own mask when coming to campus. Masks can be purchased at shop AT NAIT. There will also be masks available for purchase in select vending machines located at each campus. 

How do I wear masks safely?

Review the information below or download this card for instructions on using masks.

1. Before use 

  • Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water. 
  • Open mask fully to cover from nose to below chin. If the mask has a nose bar, pinch around your nose. 

2. During use 

  • Avoid touching the mask or your face under the mask. 
  • If the disposable mask is damp, clean your hands and replace your mask. 

3. Removal and disposal 

  • Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water. 
  • Do not touch the front of the mask. Remove using the ties or elastic loops. 
  • If you are wearing a disposable mask, discard immediately in a garbage can once removed. If you are using a cloth mask, put it in a sealed plastic bag once removed to take it home. 
  • Never reuse disposable masks. 
  • Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water. 

Video: How to wear a non-medical mask (Government of Alberta)  

More information:  COVID-19: Masks (Government of Alberta)

Cold weather use of masks

In cold weather, masks may become wet from breathing, snow or other precipitation. Change a mask when it becomes wet. A wet mask is harder to breathe through, is less efficient at filtering and vents more around the edges of the mask. It is especially important to have one or more replacement masks during cold weather. If your reusable mask becomes wet, put it in a sealed plastic bag until you can wash it.

Scarves and other headwear such as ski masks and balaclavas used for warmth are usually made of loosely knit fabrics that are not suitable for use as masks to prevent COVID-19 transmission. They can be worn over a mask.

If you wear glasses, find a mask that fits closely over your nose or has a nose wire to help reduce fogging. Consider using an antifogging spray that is made for eyeglasses.

How do I clean cloth masks?

If you are using a cloth mask, follow the information below or download this card to learn how to wash and maintain your mask.

  • Wash your cloth mask daily at home. 
  • After removing your cloth mask, carry it home with you in a sealed plastic bag
  • Never leave a used, unwashed mask at NAIT.  
  • Wash your hands before and after handling your cloth mask. 

Washing instructions 

Using a washing machine

  • Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting. 

Washing by hand 

  • Use a bleach solution, suitable for disinfection, and follow mixing directions on this guide (never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleansers). 
  • Check that the bleach product is not past the expiration date. 
  • Soak the mask in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.  
  • Rinse thoroughly with cool or warm temperature water. 
  • Dry the mask by using the highest temperature setting on your dryer or air dry, ideally in direct sunlight. 

Additional information  

Thank you for doing your part to help NAIT maintain a safe and healthy campus environment. Learn more about safety requirements and measures on the Your Safety page.