Student and Academic Life

Mask Up, Please – How to Talk About the Importance of Wearing a Face Mask

Image of two students walking on campus wearing face masks
Wearing face masks is a simple and effective way to keep everyone in the UK community safe and healthy. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug 28, 2020) – Wearing a face covering is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread of the coronavirus. At the University of Kentucky, wearing a face mask is required unless individuals are alone in a room, alone outside, eating, drinking, or exercising or when it interferes with required curricular activities. But the use of masks only works if everyone does it. Encourage your peers to do their part to keep our community safe. Here are some pointers for when you see someone not wearing a mask:

  • Stay calm when approaching your fellow student. Remember to leave six feet of distance between you and others. 
  • Approach and kindly remind your peer that wearing a face covering helps everyone stay safe in our community, and ask they put on a face covering. 
  • Keep in mind, we all need to do our part, but it is not the expectation that you police others. Remind your friends and classmates of the expectations. 

“It is difficult to ask your friends, and especially a new peer that you may not know as well, to do something like wearing a face covering,” said Dominick Williams, director of student conduct at UK. “But at the end of the day, this is what allows us to stay together as a community, and that responsibility is on each and every one of us. Keep in mind, most people want to do the right thing. If we ask in a reasonable and respectful way, people will do what they can for others to feel safe when they are around.”

It can uncomfortable talking to your peers about such an important topic, but this policy is in place to keep you and them safe and healthy. Here are some phrases you can use to respectfully ask your fellow wildcats to mask up:

  • Please wear a mask when you come over to my room.
  • Let’s keep some physical distance between us while we talk.
  • Just to help us be safe, would you put on a face covering? 
  • Let’s walk this way, to avoid the crowd, just to be safe.

Everyone needs to do their part to keep the UK community safe and healthy. You can have the virus and not show any symptoms. Review the mask guidelines to ensure that you’re wearing your mask correctly, and be sure to wash your hands, maintain a physical distance of six feet and do your daily screening.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.