The CDC recommends that you "wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) any time you are around others inside your home or indoors in public" if you are exposed, regardless of vaccination status.
The College continues to supply surgical masks upon request at each building front desk. Additionally, KN95 masks are available to all students and employees as they are more effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 than cloth or surgical masks.
What is a KN95?
KN95 masks reduce the amount of dust or virus particles a person breathes in by approximately 95 percent.
How do I obtain a KN95?
Complimentary KN95 masks are being made available to students, faculty and staff. Faculty and staff may request from the Benton Harbor Campus mailroom and South Haven and Niles campus offices; students may request from their instructors for in-person classes. Additional masks will be provided to instructors through their academic divisions. Requests may be limited to no more than one per person per week, so we can assure that everyone who wants a mask is able to get one.
Please also feel free to provide your own. They are readily available online and in many local retailers. KN95s, while disposable, are designed to be worn multiple times safely.
How do I properly use my KN95?
- If possible, wash or sanitize your hands immediately before and after putting your KN95 on and immediately before and after taking it off when planning to reuse it.
- Place the mask over your face, with the bottom below your chin and the nosepiece up.
- Place the straps of the mask over each of your ears.
- Adjust the metal nose clip using fingers from both hands to mold the clip to the shape of your nose
- Adjust fit as necessary to reduce airflow around the mask.
- Certain types of facial hair, like beards, can make mask fitting difficult. Masks that fit well protect you better. To have a better fit, people with beards can shave their beards or trim their beards close to the face.
- If you wear glasses and find fogging to be a nuisance, wash the lenses with soapy water and shake off the excess before putting on your mask (wipe off nose piece to minimize skin irritation).
How should I care for and store my KN95
DO NOT attempt to wash your KN95. With proper care, your KN95 should be reusable for an extended period of time.
To keep your KN95 clean between uses, store your mask in a safe location that other people cannot access and where it will not get wet or be subject to direct sunlight or excessive heat.
When should I discard my KN95?
You should replace your KN95 when it:
- Becomes soiled
- No longer covers the nose and mouth
- Has stretched out or damaged ties or straps
- Cannot stay on the face
- Has holes or tears in the fabric
A KN95 may be disposed of in the normal trash.
Why use a KN95 instead of a cloth or surgical face mask?
While many face masks help prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others, they provide limited protection to the wearer. A KN95 provides better protection for the wearer than other face masks, while also reducing the spread of the virus from the wearer.