Protect Purdue Guidance for the use of Face Shields

University protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have evolved since early 2020.  Safe face shield usage was reviewed at the July 6, 2020 meeting of the Medical Advisory Team. The agreed upon uses of face shields are described below. This guidance does not change the use of face shields under existing non COVID-19 hazard assessments and protocols.

This guidance does not replace the requirement for facemasks in public areas and common spaces.

 Approved uses for face shields:

  1. Researchers and instructors, teaching assistants, staff, and students (in instructional labs) should wear face masks and face shields when close proximity work is required for extended periods of time.  Example: two researchers working side-by-side at the same lab equipment station for 30 minutes.
  2. Face shields may be worn for additional protection over a face mask.
  3. Upon review and approval by the unit leader (dean or vice president) requests for alternate use of face shields may be submitted for review by the Medical Advisory Team by sending the following information to
    1. Name and contact email
    2. Department and college providing the approved protocol request
    3. Detailed description of request for alternate use of face shields
    4. Description of methodology to comply with the requirements of the Protect Purdue Plan

 Guidance details:

  1. Face shield design:
    1. Face shields should cover the eyes, nose and mouth, and be substantial enough to remain in place without excessive readjustment.
    2. If the face shield appears damaged or torn – discard and obtain a replacement
  2. Cleaning procedures for reuse:
    1. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended instructions for cleaning and disinfection.
    2. When manufacturer instructions for cleaning and disinfection are not available, face shields may be cleaned as follows while wearing gloves:
      1. Carefully wipe the inside, followed by the outside of the face shield using a clean cloth saturated with neutral detergent solution or a cleaner wipe.
      2. Carefully wipe the inside, followed by the outside of the face shield using a wipe or clean cloth saturated with EPA-List N registered disinfectant solution. Allow for appropriate disinfectant dwell time
      3. If shield is streaked or has a cloudy film, clean mask with a soft, water dampened cloth or use an alcohol pad.
      4. Fully dry (air dry or use clean absorbent towels).
      5. Remove gloves and perform hand hygiene.
  3. Obtaining face shields:
    1. Face shields may be obtained from Procurement.

Additional Face Mask Guidance:

  • Reminder that adherence to the approved university face mask policy required proper use of the face mask. The face mask must cover both the mouth and nose of the wearer at all times when in a university building or outdoors when 6’ distancing cannot be maintained at all times.
  • Face shields alone CANNOT be used as substitute for face masks. Wearing both shields and masks simultaneously are encouraged, and may be required, in instructional spaces to add additional layers of protection.
  • Face masks should be worn by staff at desks behind plexiglass shields anytime another person is in the room. Masks may be removed in private offices, but should be worn anytime another person is in the room.
  • Single layer neck gaiters or neck fleeces made of synthetic fabrics (for example, polyester/spandex blends) have been shown to be ineffective in stopping aerosol and droplet emissions and are NOT an approved substitute for face masks. Neck gaiters or fleeces made of multiple layers of natural fibers such as cotton may be worn. Please pay close attention to the composition of the neck gaiter/fleece to ensure that it adheres to campus standards for face masks.
    • Single layer gaiters can be folded to provide triple layer protection
    • Gaiters advertised as “breathable” are not suitable.
  • Face masks should NOT be altered in any way that compromises the function of the mask to block aerosol or droplet emission. For example, cutting holes in the mask to increase breathability or to allow for drinking is not allowed.
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(765) 494-7504
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