Wear a mask!

A Makerspace guide to beginning the Fall Semester 2020 and beyond.

In response to the continued spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, Clemson University will be requiring face masks be worn while in campus buildings, spaces, and while participating in campus affiliated activities. As this decision impacts all students, faculty, and others affiliated with or traveling to Clemson, some information about the effectiveness of masks, as well as the recommendations for building these masks is provided below as a resource.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as other major medical associations, recommend the use of fabric masks to slow the spread of the virus. This type of mask is most useful for preventing spreading any respiratory diseases from one person to another. Proper technique in wearing masks is crucial to the success of the mask: ensure the mask covers both your mouth and nose, completely filtering particulates from your body. Additionally, make sure the mask is not too tight or constricting—this will help make the mask more comfortable to wear for longer period of time.

In addition to this information regarding proper ways to secure and wear masks for optimal use, the CDC has specific recommendations for type of material and number of layers a mask should have. The CDC is recommending a two-layer mask, which should be constructed of a hydrophilic and tightly woven material, such as cotton. This type of mask primarily exists to prevent transmission from the wearer to the rest of those present by preventing aerosol particles from entering the atmosphere from the wearer’s mouth or nose. A pictorial illustration of assembly can be found via the button below

On a press release from the CDC on July 14, 2020, the CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said: “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus—particularly when used universally within a community setting.”

A few key items to remember when wearing/using face coverings:

  • Put the covering over your nose and mouth, securing it under your chin

  • Make sure the mask fits snugly on all sides of your face

  • Don’t put the face covering around your neck or forehead – this can spread germs to this part of your face, and otherwise negates the effectiveness of masks

  • Don’t touch the face covering when removing it – pull it off by the ear strap/portion rather than the portion that covers your nose/mouth

Medical News Today reports “The researchers found that a sheet of tightly woven cotton — of 600 threads per inch — plus two sheets of chiffon, made from polyester and spandex, seemed to make the most effective combination, filtering out 80–99% of the particles, depending on their size.”

Other scientific institutions such as the American Chemical Society, and the World Health Organization have been conducting research regarding the effectiveness of mask shape as well as mask material. Studies from these institutions about the effectiveness and filtration of (fabric) masks include—but are not limited to—these published works: