Following the University of Colorado Boulder’s return to in-person classes, and the Omicron variant continuing to increase COVID-19 cases in Boulder County, the university is offering free facial protection to community members on campus.
On Friday, Jan 21, the university began handing out free N95 and KN95 masks to faculty, students and staff at various locations on campus.
“As the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly through our community, CU Boulder is taking steps to protect campus affiliates as we return to an in-person learning experience,” the university said in an article for CU Boulder Today.
Students and faculty must wear a mask at all times when in an indoor group setting, which includes participating in classes, events or at the Rec Center. CU Boulder recently mandated a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for those on campus as well.
“It is helpful that these N95 masks are much more available than they were in the beginning,” said Garrett Dollahan, a freshman student living on campus. “I think it would make people with specific uncertainties more comfortable on campus with thousands of other students if we were all using the most protective gear available.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, N95 masks are the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These types of masks have 5 layers that filter out up to 95% of harmful substances in the air.
The current guidelines in Boulder County include wearing a surgical mask, N95, or KN95 whenever possible in public. According to the CDC, cloth masks are not as effective as these other options in protection from the Omicron variant, but cloth masks still comply with the CDC and campus guidelines.
Alongside the university, Colorado’s state government is providing free KN95 masks at local pharmacies and libraries. Each Coloradan can get up to 5 free masks each month.
CU Boulder’s masks will continue to be available from 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays. Distribution sites are present at the University Memorial Center, Center for Community, Student Rec Center, Center for Academic Success and Engagement, and the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Community.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Addison Luetke at firstname.lastname@example.org.