Sparty wearing a face covering.

MSU Extension Protocols for Face Coverings

October 14, 2021 - Author:

The following is current as of October 14, 2021, in accordance with Michigan State University guidance. 

Face-coverings are required at any indoor gathering offered by MSU Extension and hosted on MSU property. This includes property rented or leased specifically for an MSU event, such as a hotel or conference room. For indoor MSU Extension programming and events occurring on non-MSU property, face coverings are required for MSU Extension professionals and participants are asked to follow local guidelines about masks. Face-coverings are optional for both personnel and guests at events that are not sponsored by MSU AND do not take place on MSU property.

Who must wear a mask?

The following chart may be useful to clarify masking requirements for MSU Extension professionals and program participants. For the purpose of this chart, MSU Extension volunteers and 4-H members are considered participants.


Is the event being held on an MSU property or on a property that is being rented/reserved exclusively for an MSU activity?



Is MSU a sponsor of the event or program?


✓  MSU Extension personnel

✓  Participants

✓  MSU Extension personnel

  • Participants are encouraged, but not required to wear masks unless required by local regulations or the venue.


✓  MSU Extension personnel

✓  Participants

  • All MSU Extension personnel and participants are encouraged, but not required to wear masks unless required by local regulations or the venue.

✓   Indicates that a mask must be worn.

Asking people to wear a face covering as required by Michigan State University can lead to awkward and uncomfortable situations. As MSU Extension employees, it is your responsibility to address situations that could have a significant negative impact on others. The following guidelines can help you avoid or navigate potentially difficult situations.

Follow the advice outlined here about notifying participants of the masking requirements.

Make room for social distancing.

If you are programming indoors, choose a room that holds more people than you expect to attend. Do not crowd chairs. You also may tape off chairs that should remain empty. If you expect family units to attend, allow them to sit closer to each other.

When applicable, put a table near the entrance to the room that outlines expectations for face coverings and supplies masks for those who may not have one handy.

Consider using a voice amplifier if you are concerned about people having difficulty hearing you. Speak with your district director or supervisor regarding purchasing this equipment.

If someone ignores the signage and does not comply with your instructions, be kind but firm.

  • Use “I” statements when addressing the issue: “I noticed that you are not wearing a protective face covering or mask. Masks are currently required indoors for all employees and participants in MSU Extension programs on MSU property. To slow the spread of COVID-19, MSU is directing everyone to mask-up and take personal responsibility to protect their own health and the health of others. Do you have a mask at your disposal that you can put on? If not, I can provide one for you.”
    • If they continue to ignore the request, ask them to leave the program, offer to process a refund later, OR
    • Suggest they sign up for a program when the mask mandate is lifted.
    • If there is significant non-compliance or the potential for the event to become hostile, use your best judgement about if the events should be ended.
    • In cases of hostility or if you feel unsafe, call the police.


For more information, visit MSU’s Together We Will website has a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions. This list is regularly updated, so be sure to check back for any updates and/or additions.

The MSU Extension Communicating Through Conflict Course provides tools to help you navigate conflict and includes a section specifically dedicated to navigating COVID-related conflict.

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