Masking Policies

Masking on Campus and in Health Facilities

Updated May 20, 2022

With the rapid reduction in COVID-19 cases across the United States as well as locally, the risk of transmission in campus indoor locations has dramatically declined. Because of these improving conditions, UCSF will transition to a new indoor masking policy beginning April 1, 2022. Note that these policies may change to comply with local, state and federal guidelines.

Please note these important details and see the charts for masking when in campus and UCSF Health buildings below:

  • Beginning April 1, 2022, masks will be strongly recommended but no longer be required in some indoor spaces on campus, however, masks are still mandatory in high-risk settings, such as hospitals, clinics, childcare facilities, elevators and campus shuttles.  
  • Unvaccinated personnel with exceptions must always wear masks and comply with other non-pharmaceutical interventions.
  • Anyone with a recent high-risk exposure to COVID-19 must always wear masks and comply with other non-pharmaceutical interventions.
  • Wearing masks outdoors is optional, but strongly recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated in situations where they will be in sustained close contact with others.
  • Please respect and support everyone’s individual decisions, including those who choose to continue wearing a mask.
  • Wearing a mask helps protect others in our community who may be immunocompromised or at greater risk for serious illness.
  • Masks differ in the degree of protection they provide. N95 respirators provide the highest level of protection, followed by K-95, surgical masks, and Cal OSHA-accepted cloth masks.
  • For campus employees, orders of N95 masks can be placed through the BearBuy store at no cost to your department and may be obtained at campus security desk locations for voluntary use.

UCSF Campus Buildings – Face Covering Guidelines 

Campus Location

Unvaccinated or

Not-fully Vaccinated

Fully Vaccinated



Not Required



Strongly Recommended




Shuttles & Shuttle Stops



Break Spaces w/ Food and Beverage






Child Care



UCSF Health Hospitals &
Clinical Patient Care Spaces

See masking in UCSF Health buildings below

See masking in UCSF Health buildings below

* Also applies to vehicles with one or more people

** Recommended if you cannot maintain 6 feet physical distancing

*** Masks can be removed while eating/drinking, making sure to maintain safe physical distancing


UCSF Health Buildings – Masking Guidelines 


Safe distancing is defined as  being greater than six feet apart from others when feasible 


Up-to-date* vaccination status 

NOT up-to-date vaccination status (includes staff with approved exception on file with OHS) 

Indoor Clinical Area

Clinical and common areas where patients and visitors can be present  (Includes waiting rooms and patient rooms) 

Masking and safe distancing from others are required**

Designated Rooms in Indoor Clinical Areas 

Where patients/visitors do not have access (e.g., shared charting rooms, radiology reading rooms, pathology multi-head scope rooms, shared offices,  and workrooms) 

Masking required


Masking required with safe distancing (6 ft.) maintained as much as feasible.

Cafeteria in Healthcare Buildings

In addition to indoor dining areas, includes hospital balconies, terraces, porches where patients and visitors can be present. 

Masking (a) required 

Elevators in Healthcare buildings 

Masking required

Alone in an office or Vehicle   

Outdoors - General 

No masking or distancing required

Recommend masking when less than 6 feet from others

(a) Mask can be removed to eat / drink as long as safe distancing (greater than 6 feet) from others as much as feasible is maintained. 

*Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and Cal OSHA1, up-to-date vaccination status is defined as meeting criteria described below in A or B: 

A. COMPLETED an initial FDA- or WHO-approved two-dose vaccination series > 5 months ago (or one-dose J&J > 2 months ago) and you have RECEIVED your booster. 

B. COMPLETED an initial FDA- or WHO-approved two-dose vaccination series < 5 months ago (or one-dose J&J < 2 months ago), and > 14 days since you completed your vaccination series (i.e., NOT YET booster eligible). 

**In patient care areas where patients and visitors can be present, all employees (regardless of vaccination status) are expected to physically distance greater than six (6) feet, or as much as possible, from other persons, as able in their usual workflow. 

Note: The UC-wide vaccination policy became effective July 15, 2021. UCSF Health employees and students without up-to- date vaccination status will be required to be tested for COVID-19 and wear N95 respirator when working in a high-risk setting. For testing questions, contact the COVID hotlines: 

  • UCSF Employees call (415) 514-7328 
  • UCSF Students call (415) 476-8736 or online at Occupational Health

Direct questions to: [email protected] 

UCSF Health Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I still need to wear a mask?

  • Up-to-date* vaccination status or Vaccinated employees must wear a UCSF Health-provided medical mask for all areas within health buildings. 
  • NOT up-to-date vaccination status or Unvaccinated (defined as anyone who is not fully vaccinated) employees must wear a medical mask in all indoor locations on UCSF property, including UCSF-owned vehicles/shuttles/vanpools. Employees who are granted exemptions to the UC COVID-19 vaccine policy by Human Resources are considered unvaccinated or NOT up-to-date on vaccination status. 
  • For all areas within health buildings, a UCSF Health-issued medical mask must be worn. 
  • A request can be made to the employee’s supervisor to be provided with an N95 respirator for voluntary use
  • It is also recommended, but not required, that unvaccinated employees wear a mask outdoors anywhere on UCSF property when within 6-feet of another person. 

Q: Which mask should I wear in indoor clinical areas and what is strongly recommended for direct patient care? 

You must wear at least a UCSF Health-issued medical mask when in indoor clinical areas. You are strongly recommended to wear an N95 with eye protection for direct patient care. 

Q: I was just vaccinated, when can I stop masking?

You can follow the ‘up-to-date’ vaccination status 14 days after the last dose of any FDA-authorized or approved vaccine. Until then, you should follow the guidance for ‘NOT up-to-date’ vaccination status for employees. 

Q: Do I still need to physically distance from others?

In patient care areas, all employees (regardless of vaccination status) are expected to maintain 6 feet distancing from other people, or as much as possible in their usual workflow. This includes workrooms, breakrooms, and conference rooms embedded in patient care areas, 

In indoor or outdoor non-patient care areas, all wear masks within health buildings. Employees NOT up-to-date with vaccination status are encouraged to mask when <6 feet from others. If unmasked (e.g. while eating or drinking), must maintain ≥6 feet from others. 

Q: Do I still need to screen upon entry to UCSF Health premises?

Yes. All employees must participate in symptom screening when entering UCSF Health premises. This can be done through the digital screener. 

Q: What other measures should I do to protect myself?

  • Hand hygiene is key to preventing transmission of infections and is an important part of preventing COVID-19 infection in healthcare settings and in the community. 
  • Cleaning environmental surfaces that are touched by multiple people is also an important measure to prevent the spread of infection. 
  • Wear a mask if you are mildly ill and working within the Occupational Health Services working well policy. 

Q: Do patients and visitors still need to mask?

Yes. Patients and visitors, independent of vaccination status, are required to wear masks in patient care areas when on UCSF Health premises.