As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to base our health and safety practices on the regularly changing guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in consultation with our local health department.
The university plans for every semester with the health and safety of our community members as our top priority. With new guidelines from the CDC and our local health authorities, we are updating the health guidelines for our campuses.
Please refer to the county status on tab one of this web page to determine whether a face mask is recommended on specific Kent State campuses when indoors with others.
You could also choose to rely on the headlines on the coronavirus home page to see the most recent emails with updated campus and county community health level alerts and statuses, which impact face-mask recommendations.
For those individuals who choose to continue wearing a face mask, below are some best practices and tips.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that cloth face coverings be washed after each use.
If that isn't possible, reusable cloth masks should be washed as soon as they become dirty or at least once per week. Always wash your hands after handling or touching a used mask. Reusable face masks can be washed along with your regular laundry, using regular detergent and settings appropriate for the fabric. Dry the mask completely in a warm or hot dryer. Hand-washing is also appropriate with detergent and water. Masks should be thoroughly rinsed and dried completely prior to reuse. N95 and KN95 respirators should not be washed (water destroys the electrostatic charge that captures viruses). If dirty or potentially contaminated, they should be placed in the trash.
Disposable face masks should be thrown away after a single use.
1. Always remove face coverings correctly. To do so:
2. Wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends three styles of face coverings for protection from the virus causing COVID-19:
Face coverings should completely cover your nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of your face and have a pliable nose bridge that can seal around the nose. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to anyone who cannot wear a face covering. KN95 and medical-grade masks can be picked up at the at-home rapid test site distribution locations across the Kent and Regional Campuses.
Acceptable alternatives are available, including transparent face coverings and face shields. Be advised that for a face shield to be protective against transmitting the virus, it must wrap around to the ears and down past the chin where an obstructive modification is used to prevent virus from being exhaled out below the shield. Per the CDC, bandanas are not suitable face coverings as they are too thin and too loose to provide the needed protection. When selecting a face covering and verifying best practices for how to wear a face covering, please see this CDC web page.
Traditional, transparent face shields are used in conjunction with a cloth face covering, surgical mask or N95 filter respirator. This face shield is used primarily by first responders and medical personnel, as the shield serves to block virus and debris from clogging the face covering and limiting its usefulness when used in areas of high virus load (hospitals, ambulances, etc.). It wraps around the face to the ear and down the face to approximately chin level.
One non-traditional face shield is available from Pam Fitzgerald (for faculty and staff) or Amanda Feaster (for students) for those who cannot wear something that directly covers the nose and mouth. Find their contact information in the university's online phone directory. This shield wraps farther around the face, almost covering the ears and past the chin. Importantly, it has a chin shelf that folds up to prevent exhaled virus from escaping from behind the shield.
We know there have been times when these have been hard to find. The university has provided KN95 and medical-grade masks at the rapid test distribution sites on the Kent Campus and the Regional Campuses. All units have access to ordering and maintaining a supply of KN95 and medical-grade masks at all campuses. This information has been communicated. Students in the residence halls have been supplied with KN95 masks at the start of the semester. All students have received email communication on the best types and locations of masks, and this information is on the website.
Kent State will be providing face coverings to students and employees who attend large events on campus. Faculty and staff will have face coverings available within their unit/department.
If you are seeking these items from other locations, keep these tips in mind:
The KF94 (KF stands for “Korean filter,” and the 94 means it filters 94% of particles) is a high-quality mask that folds flat and is made in Korea. Its efficacy is similar to the N95 and KN95. It is designed specifically for the consumer market. Unfortunately, counterfeit KF94 respirators have been identified globally, making purchases from a reputable distributor essential for safety.
If your mask is wet (from exhaled moisture), is dirty (from sweat, makeup or other substances) or has been exposed to a known source of COVID-19 (being within 6 feet of a positive case for more than 15 minutes), carefully remove it by the ear loops or head straps (not the front of the mask) and store it in a plastic bag until it can be washed. Wash as soon as possible to prevent it from getting moldy.
If your N95 or KN95 respirator is wet (from exhaled moisture), it should be put into a paper bag and left to air dry for at least 72 hours before reuse. If the respirator is dirty (from sweat, makeup or other substances) or it has been exposed to a known source of COVID-19 (being within 6 feet of a positive case for more than 15 minutes), carefully remove it by the ear loops or head straps (not the front of the respirator) and discard it in the trash.