KN95 masks to be made available to students

A+group+of+students+walk+down+Boylston+Street+wearing+masks.+

Photo: Alec Klusza

A group of students walk down Boylston Street wearing masks.

By Bailey Allen, Deputy Enterprise Editor

A limited supply of KN95 masks will be available for pick up at the Campus Life Office and Information Desk beginning on Jan. 18, announced college officials on Monday.

The decision to provide KN95 masks comes as the college reports 255 positive COVID-19 tests and a cumulative 4.1 percent positivity rate since Jan. 3, when testing began for the Spring 2022 semester. Massachusetts reported 14,670 new cases on Friday, Jan. 14 amid the ongoing surge of the Omicron variant, which now accounts for at least 75 percent of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts and 95 percent in the United States.

Recent CDC Guidance has shown that well-fitting, non-cloth masks are the best face coverings to use at this time to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” Associate Vice President of Campus Life and “COVID Lead” Erik Müürisepp stated in a community-wide email.

The masks are available to pick up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Campus Life Office, located in Walker 411, and from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. at the information desk at 172 Tremont St. 

A link to the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website was also provided, highlighting the recent changes in mask guidance. According to the CDC, although any mask is better than no mask at all, NIOSH-approved respirators such as N95s are the most effective, respirators that meet international standards such as KN95s are second-best, procedure or surgical masks follow, and cloth masks are least effective.

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The CDC also states that it is important to check that a mask or respirator fits snugly over one’s mouth, nose and chin for full efficacy.