Ursinus’ New Investment: KN95

Erin Corcoran (ercorcoran@ursinus.edu)

This winter’s sought-after accessory is something you can get free of charge on campus: a KN95 mask. Multiple communications from the COVID Task Force informed students about this recent development, which came in light of the COVID-19 surge. Following the rise of the Omicron variant in early January, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) changed their masking recommendation and stated N95 and KN95 masks provide the best level of protection against the virus. Following this, prices skyrocketed and many retailers sold out of the masks, making supply scarce.

That’s when the Task Force stepped in. Upon mandatory check-in, each student received two KN95 masks and can pick up more at the testing center in Myrin or the Campus Safety Office. 

As Dean of the College Mark Schneider explained, he and the other members of the Task Force decided this would be a worthwhile investment. Students now do not have to worry about barriers of cost or access to finding KN95s. He also said the expense to the college was insignificant, so it was a simple decision. 

Schneider, along with other members of the Task Force, have already seen the benefits. He states, “We have found many students who come by the testing site asking if they can take an extra one or two, so we infer the response has been positive.” 

Some students, however, believe this is an unnecessary expense, with fears that it will raise tuition or take away funds away from other spaces. Also, the communication from Ursinus about this supply did not reach the student body until mid-January, so many already found alternative masking options.