Help to keep us all safe by wearing a face mask: the latest requirements and advice
As Victoria experiences a significant rise in COVID-19 infection rates, the state government has recently updated its advice on face masks.
Aligned with this advice, we now strongly recommend mask-wearing in indoor and crowded spaces at Deakin.
We know that masks can be annoying or inconvenient, but they’re a simple way to help protect both yourself and the people around you. COVID-19 spreads easily in the respiratory droplets that become airborne when an infected person breathes, speaks, coughs, sneezes or laughs.
Masks reduce the spread of the virus at the early stage, when you might not even realise you’re carrying it. This minimises the risk of it being passed onto people who are vulnerable or who have underlying health conditions.
Here’s when you should wear a mask and how to access them at Deakin.
Where to wear a mask
At Deakin, masks are strongly recommended in the following settings:
- in indoor spaces – especially places like the library, Student Central, cafes, informal learning spaces and other common areas – and anywhere crowded where you can’t physically distance, including outside
- if you have any COVID-19 symptoms
- when you’re with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.
There are some higher risk settings where face masks are required, so please always follow all instructions from staff.
Face masks are also mandatory for everyone aged eight and over in a range of other settings specified by the Victorian Government. This includes on public transport and in sensitive settings such as hospitals and care facilities.
Which mask to use
Surgical masks (level 2 or 3) provide a reasonable barrier to large airborne particles from coughing or sneezing. These masks are single use and should be disposed of and replaced if they become wet. Free surgical masks are available at Student Central.
N95 and P2 masks (without valves) – when fitted correctly, the superior design, fit and materials filter out very fine particles and help protect against droplet and airborne transmission of COVID. They’re a good choice if you need a higher level of protection, and are available from pharmacies and other large stores.
Cloth/fabric masks – commonly used in the earlier phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, cloth/fabric masks are not recommended as an effective measure against the current (and now dominant) Omicron variants.
How to dispose of your used masks
The COVID-19 pandemic has created several new waste types that are challenging to manage sustainably – including surgical masks and N95/P2. We’re investigating sustainable waste management options for used masks, but in the meantime please dispose of your used masks in a red landfill bin.
Make sure you cut the ear loops open before you throw your mask in the bin – this minimises the risk of an animal becoming entangled in the elastic.
Other ways to stay safe
- Maintain 1.5-metre distance from others where possible, use hand sanitiser and practise good hygiene.
- Stay up to date with your COVID vaccinations. Find out more about recommended vaccination schedules for different groups and how to book.
- Get tested whenever you have any COVID symptoms. If you test positive, you must follow the Checklist for COVID cases.
- If you’re a contact of someone with COVID, you must follow the Checklist for COVID contacts, including isolating if required.
- Stay up to date with the latest COVIDSafe info by reading our COVID-19 FAQs.