Mask Fit Policy

Students are responsible for ensuring that the organization where they are placed can provide the appropriate size mask as determined by their mask fit test.

If an organization does not use the same brand of masks, students will need an additional mask fit test. Costs for additional mask fittings are incurred by the student. The University and Faculty of Nursing does not pay for or reimburse students for costs associated with mask fittings.

Council of Health Sciences Education Subcommittee Mask Fit Statement

Do you require an accommodation? View our Mask Fit Accommodation Form

Mask Fit Testing for all first-year students takes place at the end of August. An email with detailed instructions will be sent as soon as fit testing is scheduled.

Healthcare providers adopt infection control procedures including the wearing of personal protective equipment. One of the key pieces of personal protective equipment is a properly fit tested mask. The Ministry of Health has developed directives for health care professionals to wear an approved respirator/mask when droplet protection (as in the cases of SARS and H1N1) as required. In order to protect the health and safety of health care learners, the use of respirators/masks may be required if there is evidence of potential exposure to airborne infectious agents. Dependent upon the nature of the experiential rotation, as determined by the Program/Faculty, learners may be mask fit tested prior to the start of the experiential rotation. Fit test data must be updated every 18 months – 2 years or when facial characteristics change due to weight gain/loss or facial trauma. For an adequate mask-to-face seal learners must be clean shaven at the time of the mask fitting. Accommodation requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing Mask Fit Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to protect the health and safety of Faculty of Nursing learners, patients, and health care agency staff by ensuring that all learners comply with Occupational Diseases Surveillance Policies and other related policies in effect at their clinical practicum sites, as well as the Government of Ontario Ministry of Labour orders issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including the use of N95 respirators.

2. Application

This policy applies to all Faculty of Nursing learners (Undergraduate and Graduate students with the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing) in clinical practicum sites. Most clinical placement sites affiliated with the University of Toronto Faculty of Nursing have respiratory protection policies and procedures to follow when at risk of exposure to airborne infectious agents. Faculty of Nursing learners must comply with these policies and procedures.

3. General Requirements

Learners must comply with their clinical placement agency site’s respiratory protection policies. As part of securing a ‘Student Preparedness Permit’, each learner must be individually fitted to determine which brands of N95 masks provide adequate protection against airborne particles. This may require the removal of facial hair to allow for an adequate mask-to-face seal. Mask fit testing must be updated every 2 years or when facial characteristics change due to weight gain/loss or facial trauma.

Learners are also required to be immune to vaccine preventable airborne infectious agents such as measles and varicella. Evidence of each learner’s mask fit testing as well as their immunization status related to vaccine preventable airborne infectious agents (as well as other preparedness information) are requirements to be met prior to the start of each academic year. If requested by a clinical agency in which a learner is completing a clinical practicum, the learner must provide evidence of mask fit testing and immunization to the health care agency’s Occupational Health Office.

4. Accommodation

Learners who cannot wear, or be fitted for, an N95 mask appropriately due to medical, religious or other valid reason should immediately notify their Program Director and the Clinical Education Office Director of their inability to do so and request accommodation. The learner must complete and submit the N95/Respirator Mask Fit: Accommodation Form. The Program Director and the Clinical Education Office Director will confer with the relevant health care agency representative(s) to examine whether suitable alternative arrangements can be made consistent with the accommodation requirement. Practicum placement agencies may exercise their right not to accept a student who does not meet their Occupational Health and Safety polices for learners.

Note: This policy has been adapted from the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Policy: Respiratory Protection Policy and Procedures (2009)