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COVID-19 Information: Masks are required indoors on PCC campuses and in centers. Learn more on the COVID-19 & Updates Page.

Indoor Mask Requirement & COVID-19 Precautions

Throughout the pandemic, Pima Community College has been committed to protecting the health and safety of students and employees while delivering the highest level of educational services possible.

Indoor Mask Requirement FAQs

In alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Pima County Health Department and actions by public universities in Arizona, we require face masks to be worn in all Pima Community College buildings, facilities and indoor spaces.

The masking requirement includes classrooms, labs, student learning spaces, offices, meeting areas, and any indoor areas designated by posted signage, and applies to all employees, students, visitors and vendors.

Exceptions to the mask requirement are listed below:

  • While eating or drinking in a large or open shared space
  • When the safety of an individual might be in jeopardy

In addition to requiring masks, the College is providing cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer stations, encouraging everyone to wash their hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds and has installed Synexis systems in classrooms to reduce the levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the air and on surfaces.

What is the mask requirement at Pima Community College For Fall 2021?

Masks are required in all indoor spaces. The masking requirement includes classrooms, labs, student learning spaces, offices, meeting areas, and any indoor areas designated by posted signage, and applies to all employees, students, visitors and vendors.

What if a student refuses to comply with the indoor mask requirement?

Students, employees, visitors and vendors will be asked to put on a mask or leave the area. Students who refuse to comply with the mask requirement will be subject to the College’s Student Code of Conduct disciplinary process.

What if I forget to bring a mask?

Disposable masks are available at various locations throughout the campuses and centers, including the Welcome Desk at the Student Services Centers, classrooms, Campus Vice Presidents’ offices, and Faculty Resource Centers.

Do I have to wear a mask on campus if I’m outside?

Wearing a mask outdoors is strongly encouraged but not mandatory.

What if I have a health condition or a religious need and cannot wear a mask?

For health related accommodations, please contact Access and Disability Resources (ADR).

For religious accommodations, please contact the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at pcc-diversity@pima.edu.

Who may I contact to submit a complaint?

Complaints may be filed with the Office of Dispute Resolution. Please contact them via email at resolution@pima.edu or fill out a complaint form.

What are the requirements of the mask I can wear?

  • It should cover the nose, mouth, and chin of the wearer.
  • Masks can be cloth, homemade or purchased, or disposable surgical masks.
  • Masks not only protect you but also protect the community from you; many cases of COVID-19 are spread by people who may not even realize they are sick (asymptomatic).
  • Masks are NOT Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, which are designed to protect you from hazards in your environment and are used in health care settings.
  • Face shields are not masks. Face shields do not provide adequate protection. Masks are available that have clear plastic windows at the mouth to assist those that benefit from speech-reading, i.e., Deaf, hard-of-hearing, speakers of other languages.
  • Clear masks will be available to students and faculty in ASL (American Sign Language), ESL (English as a Second Language), and World Languages classes.

See also CDC information on face coverings.

How should a face covering/mask be worn?

Face coverings/masks should fit snugly and comfortably to your face, with no large gaps around the top or sides, and must cover the nose, mouth, and chin at all times. Don’t lower your mask to breathe through your nose or to speak to someone - you may be spreading potentially infectious respiratory droplets into the air around you. You should avoid touching your face covering while wearing it, but when you do wash your hands before and after.

Why are masks important?

Face coverings are more about protecting others in the community than protecting yourself. People can have COVID-19 and spread it to others without having any symptoms. Face coverings catch small respiratory droplets that enter the air when you breathe, speak, sing, cough, and sneeze, and reduce the chance of infecting other people. There is also limited evidence that when face coverings are worn properly, they may reduce your risk of being infected with the coronavirus.

Face coverings are the right choice for members of our community – we need to preserve respirators like N95 masks for health care workers, researchers studying the coronavirus, and other high-risk workers. Face coverings should not be worn by children less than 2 years old and individuals who may have serious underlying respiratory conditions.

How do I select and care for my mask?

Face coverings can be homemade or purchased, or disposable surgical masks. The best material for homemade cloth face coverings is tightly woven cotton, such as tea towel or t-shirt material. Don’t forget to wash your face covering if it gets dirty using soap and water and wash it at least daily even if it looks clean.

What about face coverings with exhalation valves, are they ok?

Face coverings and respirators with exhalation valves allow your germs to escape into the air around you, meaning you can expose others around you. Since face coverings are more about protecting others than protecting yourself, wearing a face covering with exhalation valves is like wearing no mask at all. Devices with exhalation valves should be avoided.

Are mesh face coverings ok?

Mesh face coverings, or face coverings with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or any kind of vent, are not protective, as they allow droplets and germs to be released from the face covering. Wearing a face covering with openings is like wearing no mask at all. They are not allowed as a face covering.

Are plastic face shields ok?

You must still wear a mask under a face shield. Plastic face shields are not the best option to stop the spread of the coronavirus and are not a substitute for face coverings. The CDC does not recommend clear plastic face shields as substitutes for cloth face coverings because they are not as effective at preventing your respiratory droplets from spreading into the air around you. However, using layered protections, like wearing a face covering and a face shield together, provides an even greater level of protection.

What about clear face masks?

There are face masks that cover the nose, mouth and chin like cloth masks but have clear plastic allowing for others to see your mouth. These are very useful when working with individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing or who are not as fluent with your language. As long as they are masks that provide complete coverage, they are allowed.

For clear face masks, please see your campus resource center, ADR office, student affairs, or campus vice president to see where they are available.

What about exercising?

When exercising outdoors, you may remove your face covering. However, it is recommended that if you are unvaccinated, you wear your face covering if at least 6 feet of separation cannot be maintained. Masks are required indoors at all times.

When can I eat or drink?

You may remove your face covering when eating or drinking on campus property but only outdoors or in designated spaces such as cafes/cafeterias and break rooms.

What gives Pima the authority to require students to wear masks?

Under Arizona law, Pima’s Governing Board has broad responsibility and authority to adopt policies for the governance of the community college district, and Pima has adopted various policies to protect the health and safety of its students, employees, and community. The mask mandate is just one of many such policies.

Is Pima’s mask requirement legal? What about the Governor’s orders and the state law?

Yes, Pima’s mask requirement is legal. Everyone at Pima is required to wear a mask, whether or not they have been vaccinated. This complies with both Executive Order 2021-15 and ARS §15-1650.05, which prohibit mask mandates if they apply only to people who have not been vaccinated or who choose not to disclose their vaccination status. Pima is also not affected by changes to ARS§15-342.05 resulting from the recent passage of HB 2898, which prohibits mask mandates at public K-12 schools but not at colleges and universities.

COVID-19 Precautions FAQs

Am I required to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

No. However, if you have not done so, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Please go to the Pima County Health Department’s vaccine page for the latest vaccine information and locations.

Where can I go to get a vaccination if I am interested?

Pima County has a variety of vaccination clinics. Your health provider and most major pharmacies also provide walk-in vaccinations for COVID-19 as well as other vaccines.

Where can I go to get a COVID-19 test if I am interested?

Testing is found throughout Pima County. Most drug stores, medical labs and medical facilities provide testing. Your physician may also provide testing or a referral to testing. You may purchase home kits through a variety of businesses.

Free COVID testing is also available from Pima County testing locations.

How can I help keep classrooms and spaces safe?

Review our Keeping Classrooms & Spaces Healthy guidelines to learn how you can help keep Pima safe.

What are the large circular devices on the walls of classrooms and other spaces?

The College has installed Synexis systems in classrooms to reduce the levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the air and on surfaces.

COVID-19 Related Questions

What do I do if I am feeling sick or have an ill family member?

Regardless of the reason, we encourage all students to take care of themselves and their families. Please do not come to campus if you are feeling ill. Contact your instructor or the person you were meeting. The faculty and staff will work with you to meet the class or activity requirements without you coming to campus.

What do I do if I have been around someone who tested positive for COVID?

Please quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19.

Please submit a self-report. The link is also found after logging into MyPima on your front page.

Please contact your faculty member or person you were meeting to inform of the close contact and they will work with you while you are in quarantine.

What do I do if I have tested positive for COVID?

Isolate per the CDC guidance.

Please submit a self-report. The link is also found after logging into MyPima on your front page.

Please contact your faculty member or person you were meeting to inform of the close contact and they will work with you while you are in isolation.

What happens if there is a possible exposure on campus or College facility?

Once the College becomes aware of a possible exposure the College’s exposure protocol goes into effect. This protocol is developed by the Pandemic Taskforce and is based on the CDC and Pima County Health Department guidelines and requirements. Individuals with potential exposure will be notified of the level of risk.

If there are multiple exposures in one area, the campus vice president/site administrator along with the area/division administrator and employee health and safety will determine the course of action which may include options such as moving the course or activity virtual for a period of time, deep cleaning of the area or other options.

If there is a larger exposure or changes in risk in the community, the executive administration along with the College’s Board of Governors, will determine the College’s course of action.

If I hear of an exposure or other people are talking about an exposure they heard about, what do I do?

First, as with all personal conversations or gossip, please help end the discussion. Please do not engage in gossip and sharing of potentially private information.

If you are concerned please speak with your instructor, student affairs, or other College personnel and they will gather the information or connect you with a person who can assist you.

Support and Contact Information

I have a question I do not see answered, where do I send it?

Please submit all student questions to infocenter@pima.edu or you may send it to your campus vice president or site administrator.

I or my family/friend need additional support, where do I go?

The College has a variety of support services for students facing personal challenges, please reach out, the College is here to help.

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