UI to stock health stations with KN95 masks

The move comes as the CDC is weighing strengthening its mask recommendation.


A UI health station is shown with medical-grade masks and KN95 masks. (via uiowa.edu)

Caleb McCullough, Executive Editor

As more than 30,000 students are set to begin largely in-person classes at the University of Iowa, the university will begin providing KN95 respirators at building entrance health stations across campus.

The KN95 masks will be stocked alongside level-1 medical-grade masks and hand sanitizers at the entrances of many buildings around campus, according to a Wednesday post on the UI’s coronavirus webpage.

KN95 is the designation given by China to masks that filter 95 percent of particles, the UI’s post said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are considering updating mask guidance to recommend people wear higher-quality KN95 or N95 masks in light of the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has pushed cases to record highs across the U.S. Iowa nearly surpassed its one-week record of COVID-19 positive cases set in November 2020 last week, according to the Des Moines Register.

The UI reported on Wednesday there were 81 new COVID-19 cases among students and 108 among employees.

Despite record high cases, the UI’s post said classes would continue as normal under guidance from the state Board of Regents. Masks are not required on campus or in classrooms, though the UI strongly encourages them. Regents president Mike Richards lifted the state of emergency in May 2021 and directed universities to largely resume pre-pandemic activity.