Northern Ireland

Queen's University: Face masks to be mandatory on parts of campus

The Lanyon Building at Queen's University Belfast Image copyright Creative Commons

Queen's University (QUB) is making face coverings mandatory for staff and students on some areas of its campus.

The university's move comes into effect on Monday 10 August, when wearing masks in shops and other enclosed public spaces will also be compulsory.

Queen's University said it would supply a limited number of masks to staff and students who needed them.

Some of the university's buildings recently reopened including the McClay Library and Physical Education Centre.

Student accommodation remained open despite many other university facilities closing in mid-March.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Disposable masks will be available from the university from 10 August

In a statement to staff and students QUB said face coverings would be mandatory from Monday 10 August "in any indoor public space where it is not possible to maintain social distancing".

That will not include areas like libraries, the Graduate School and some work spaces as QUB said they had already been arranged to maintain social distancing.

However, according to the university guidance, coverings must be worn in "communal spaces such as lobby areas of buildings, social spaces and shared facilities where people tend to gather and it is not possible to maintain social distancing of 2 metres".

According to guidance from the executive, face coverings do not have to be worn when exercising indoors, when eating or drinking, or because of some medical conditions.

"It is not possible to be prescriptive about every potential scenario on campus where it may be necessary to wear a face-covering," QUB said.

"All members of the community are asked to apply their common sense and act responsibly in line with public health guidance to protect themselves and those around them by wearing a face covering if social distancing cannot be maintained."

Image copyright Getty Images

The university said it could supply a limited number of disposable and reusable face masks and coverings to staff and students on campus.

Disposable masks will be available from 10 August, with reusable coverings available from 24 August.

Queen's University has previously said that it hopes to carry out as much teaching as possible on campus when the new university year begins on 21 September, but lectures will be made available online.

QUB and Ulster University also recently offered guaranteed places to thousands of Northern Irish students before they received their A-level results.

More detailed guidance for students and staff on the exact safety measures in place on campuses for the 2020/21 academic year are expected to be provided during August.

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