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I. Purpose

This Procedure is adopted to implement the COVID-19 Policy (“Policy”). This Procedure is adopted to provide notice to employees and students who are required to wear a Respirator to participate in a class offered by the Anne Arundel Community College (“College”) or who voluntarily wear a Respirator in lieu of a Face Covering while present at a Clinical Site regarding how to properly inspect, put on, remove, use, store, maintain, inspect, conduct seal checks, and recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of respirators in accordance with the guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

II. Scope and Applicability

This Procedure applies to all College employees and students who are required to wear a Respirator to participate in a class offered by the College or who voluntarily wear a Respirator in lieu of a Face Covering while present at a Clinical Site.

III. Definitions

A. Capitalized terms in this Procedure have the meanings provided in the Policy.

B. All other capitalized terms in this Procedure have the following meanings:

1. Elastomeric Respirator means a tight-fitting Respirator with a facepiece that is made of synthetic or rubber material that permits it to be disinfected, cleaned, and reused according to manufacturer's instructions and is equipped with a replaceable cartridge(s), canister(s), or filter(s).

2. Filtering Facepiece Respirator means a negative-pressure particulate Respirator with a non-replaceable filter as an integral part of the facepiece or with the entire facepiece composed of the non-replaceable filtering medium.

3. Hand Hygiene means the cleaning and/or disinfecting of one's hands by using standard handwashing methods with soap and running water or an alcohol-based hand rub that is at least 60% alcohol.

4, Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (“PAPR”) means an air-purifying Respirator that uses a blower to force the ambient air through air-purifying elements to the inlet covering.

5. Required User means an employee or student who has been notified by the College that they are required to use a Respirator while participating in a particular class offered by the College.

6. Respirator means a type of personal protective equipment or “PPE” that is certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health under 42 CFR part 84 or is authorized under an emergency use authorization and protect against airborne hazards by removing specific air contaminants from the ambient (surrounding) air or by supplying breathable air from a safe source, including but not limited to, filtering facepiece respirators (e.g., N95), elastomeric respirators, and powered air purifying respirators or “PAPRs”. Face Coverings, facemasks, and face shields are not Respirators.

7. Tight-Fitting Respirator means a Respirator in which the air pressure inside the facepiece is negative during inhalation with respect to the ambient air pressure outside the Respirator (e.g., filtering facepiece).

8. User Seal Check means an action conducted by the Respirator user to determine if the Respirator is properly seated to the face.

9. Voluntary User means an Employee or Student who wears a Respirator while present at an AACC Location, but has not been required to wear a Respirator by the College.

IV.  Respirators

A.  Employees and Students participating in certain classes may be required to wear a Respirator during those classes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses.

B.  Employees and Students will be notified if a Respirator is required.

C.  The College will provide a Respirator when required.

D.  Employees and Students must schedule a time to be fit tested for the Respirator by College staff.

V.  Required Users

A.  The College will provide Required Users with training prior to first use of a Respirator or if a Required User changes the type of Respirator, in a language and at a literacy level the Required User understands, and comprehends, including at least the following:

1.  How to inspect, put on and remove, and use a Respirator;

2.  The limitations and capabilities of the Respirator, particularly when the Respirator has not been fit tested;

3.  Procedures and schedules for storing, maintaining, and inspecting Respirators;

4.  How to perform a User Seal Check; and

5.  How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent the effective use of Respirators and what to do if the Required User experiences signs and symptoms.

B.  User Seal Check

1.  The College requires that all Required Users using a Tight-Fitting Respirator perform a User Seal Check to ensure that the Respirator is properly seated to the face each time the Respirator is put on.

2.  Acceptable methods of User Seal Checks include:

a. Positive pressure user seal check (i.e., blow air out), including the following steps:

i. Conduct proper Hand Hygiene and properly don the Respirator;

ii. Place hands over the facepiece, covering as much surface area as possible;

iii. Exhale gently into the facepiece.

iv. The face fit is considered satisfactory if a slight positive pressure is being built up inside the facepiece without any evidence of outward leakage of air at the seal.

1) Examples of evidence that it is leaking could be the feeling of air movement on the face along the seal of the facepiece, fogging of glasses, or a lack of pressure being built up inside the facepiece.

2) If the particulate Respirator has an exhalation valve, then performing a positive pressure check may not be possible unless the Required User can cover the exhalation valve and a negative pressure check must be performed.

b. Negative pressure user seal check (i.e., suck air in), including the following steps:

i. Conduct proper Hand Hygiene and properly don the Respirator;

ii. Cover the filter surface with hands as much as possible and then inhale.

iii. The facepiece should collapse on the face and the Required User should not feel air passing between the face and the facepiece.

3.  The Required User must correct any problems discovered during the User Seal Check, such as:

a. In the case of either type of User Seal Check (positive or negative), if air leaks around the nose, the Required User should use both hands to readjust how the Respirator sits on the face or adjust the nosepiece, if applicable.

b. The Required User may need to readjust the straps along the sides of the head until a proper seal is achieved.

C.  Reuse of Respirators

1. A Filtering Facepiece Respirator may only be reused by the Required User who originally received the Respirator, and only when:

a. The Respirator is not visibly soiled or damaged;

b. The Respirator has been stored in a breathable storage container (e.g., paper bag) for at least five (5) calendar days between use and has been kept away from water or moisture;

c. The Required User does a visual check in adequate lighting for damage to the Respirator's fabric or seal;

d. The Required User successfully completes a User Seal Check, as set forth above;

e. The Required User uses proper Hand Hygiene before putting the Respirator on and conducting the User Seal Check; and

f. The Respirator has not been worn more than five (5) days total.

2. An Elastomeric Respirator or PAPR is only reused when:

a. The Respirator is not damaged;

b. The Respirator is cleaned and disinfected as often as necessary to be maintained in a sanitary condition; and

c. A change schedule is implemented for cartridges, canisters, or filters.

D.  Discontinuing Use of Respirators

1. Required Users must discontinue use of a Respirator when either the Required User or a supervisor reports medical signs or symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest pain, any other symptoms related to lung problems, cardiovascular symptoms) that are related to the ability to use a Respirator.

2. Any Required User who previously had a medical evaluation and was determined to not be medically fit to wear a Respirator will not be provided with a Respirator unless they are re-evaluated and medically cleared to use a Respirator.

VI.  Voluntary Users

A.  Employees and Students are permitted to wear a Respirator in lieu of a Face Covering whenever indoors or occupying a vehicle at an AACC Location.

B.  If a Voluntary User provides and uses their own Respirators, the following notice applies:

1. Respirators can be an effective method of protection against COVID–19 hazards when properly selected and worn.

2. Respirator use is encouraged to provide an additional level of comfort and protection for Employees or Students even in circumstances that do not require a Respirator to be used.

3. However, if a Respirator is used improperly or not kept clean, the Respirator itself can become a hazard to the user.

4. If the College allows Voluntary Users to provide and use their own Respirator, Voluntary Users need to take certain precautions to be sure that the Respirator itself does not present a hazard.

5. Voluntary Users should do the following:

a. Read and follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer on use, maintenance, cleaning and care, and warnings regarding the Respirator's limitations;

b. Keep track of the Respirator so that the Voluntary User does not mistakenly use someone else’s Respirator;

c. Employees should not wear a Respirator where other workplace hazards (e.g., chemical exposures) require use of a Respirator, and in such cases, the College will provide the Employee with a Respirator that is used in accordance with OSHA’s respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).

d. For more information about using a Respirator, see OSHA's respiratory protection safety and health topics page.


Policy Title: Respirators Procedure

Policy Category: General

Policy Owner: President

Policy Administrator: Vice President of Learning Resources Management

Contact Information:; 410-777-2532; To report a positive test or COVID symptoms, submit a COVID Safety Report or send an email to

Approval Date: March 6, 2023

Effective Date: March 24, 2023

History: Interim Procedure on Respirators adopted on March 24, 2022

Applies to: All College employees, students, and visitors