KN95 mask distribution is taking place across campus
By Katie Benzan
October 19, 2021
Image Credit: Josie Jack for The Campus Trainer
All students, faculty and staff at the university are able to receive a KN95 mask from various locations on campus as of Sept. 20.
“When you wear a KN95 mask and you’re sitting next to somebody, who is also wearing a KN95 mask, for more than an hour and a half, you’re still not considered a close contact,” said Ashley Deng, the Student Government Association director of health and wellness.
The KN95 mask is protective and effective at filtering particles, more so than cloth or surgical masks. According to Deng, a junior neuroscience major, it may prove difficult to social distance in some classrooms, so the KN95 mask is a sufficient solution.
About 60% of KN95 masks in the United States are fake, according to the CDC. Cloth and disposable masks are intended to stop your respiratory droplets and particles, as well as to protect you from others’ particles. Contrarily, respirators, like the KN95 mask, are devised to protect you from particles, including the coronavirus. Also, respirators contain your particles to limit exposing others.
About 75% of students living in Elkton Hall have picked up their KN95 masks, according to Beza Solomon, a sophomore economics major. Solomon works at the front desk in Elkton Hall and crosses a student’s name off the list of Elkton residents each time one requests a mask. However, Solomon and Samuel Mensah, who works at the front desk at Stamp, said they were instructed to only provide one mask per student. Mensah also asks to verify a university ID or some reference of affiliation with the university before providing a mask.
“The university purchased enough for every student to have a KN95 mask,” Deng said.
A KN95 mask is easier to breathe in [than a blue surgical mask], and it’s more effective, Solomon said.
Solomon wears a KN95 mask every day, whereas Mensah, a junior information science major, has only worn his mask about ten times.
“All of our residents have been picking up little colds from pocket areas, and whenever I have to be at big events with most residents on my floor in my building, most of us are in a cramped space ... so normally in those cases I would wear the KN95 because it’s easier and it’s less transmission,” Mensah said.
There are still about 3% of the university population who remain unvaccinated, according to Deng.
The university requires everyone to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated community members are required to wear masks outside in crowded areas. The university guidelines demand unvaccinated community members to sign a memorandum recognizing the health risks of being unvaccinated and to comply with twice a week COVID-19 testing on campus.