Systems and methods to protect a mask from being contaminated by airborne particles are described. The systems and methods include providing a reticle secured in a two-part cover. The two part cover includes a removable protection device used to protect the reticle from contaminants. The cover can be held inside a pod or box that can be used to transport the cover through a lithography system from an atmospheric section to a vacuum section. While in the vacuum section, the removable cover can be moved during an exposure process during which a pattern on the reticle can be formed on a wafer.