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Face coverings to be mandatory at Ulster University

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Face coverings will be mandatory for Ulster University students. Credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Face coverings will be mandatory for Ulster University students. Credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

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Face coverings will be mandatory for Ulster University students. Credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Staff and students at Ulster University (UU) will have to wear face coverings in lectures and classes when the new term begins.

The university has said it will supply disposable and reusable face coverings for all staff and students, although some may wish to wear their own.

It comes as part of a move to protect the health and wellbeing of the wider university community, the university said.

Queen's University had previously said it would make face coverings mandatory on campus. Ulster University is now going a step further by making them mandatory in settings including lecture halls, classrooms and other enclosed spaces.

It comes after Education Minister Peter Weir announced on Tuesday night that post-primary school pupils and teachers will be required to wear face coverings in school corridors and other communal areas when schools return full-time on August 31.

In new guidance on the university website, UU said staff and students must protect others and support a safe community by wearing face coverings in general circulation spaces, social spaces and other enclosed spaces, for example toilets.

They also must be worn in retail units, lecture theatres and teaching spaces, practical classes and any other area in our buildings where maintaining 2m social distancing is difficult or may not be possible.

Social distancing must also be maintained in lecture theatres, teaching spaces and offices.

"We will supply disposable and reusable face coverings for all staff and students, although you may wish to wear your own," read the university communication.

The face coverings supplied by the university will have three layers with polypropylene filter and cotton liner.

"Face coverings combined with other preventative measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of Covid-19 virus," they said.

"We recognise that there are circumstances that may make it difficult for people to wear face coverings. In these cases, there are acceptable reasons for not wearing a face covering, including for medical considerations or those with hearing loss who rely on lip-reading to communicate with others.

"We ask our university community to be respectful of others, and mindful that the reasons for not wearing a face covering may not always be apparent or visible."

The university said it will also supply face shields to staff in certain roles, including lecturing, teaching and during practical classes.

"These additional measures will be kept under review and the university will be responsive to circumstances, with appropriate safety and wellbeing measures in place at all times," they said.

Belfast Telegraph