Availability of N95 Respirators during COVID-19 Pandemic
N95 respirators provide a higher standard of particulate filtration than standard cloth face coverings or disposable 3-ply masks. Due to limited supplies, N95 respirators will only be issued to units for the following use cases:
- Providing medical care or other services to individuals with known or suspected COVID-19 exposure, including:
- Medical personnel and first responders responding to medical calls
- KU Student Housing staff interacting with individuals who are in quarantine or isolation
- Facilities Services or other Operations staff or KU IT staff who need to perform critical or emergency work in isolation or quarantine spaces
- Operations involving hazardous materials that require personal protective equipment. PPE should be used in accordance with lab-specific safety procedures and KU Environment, Health & Safety policies.
- Facilities and maintenance operations where increased dust, smoke or other airborne particulates pose a threat to employees.
- Research operations that include hazardous materials or biological agents that require an increased level of protection for the researcher’s safety or maintaining a clean test field.
When requesting N95 respirators using the personal protective equipment (PPE) order form, you must provide justification that falls into one of the above categories.
If adequate supplies become available, N95 respirators may be available for other faculty or staff who have increased interaction with the public, or who cannot maintain social distancing when working with colleagues, students or the public.
Cloth face coverings are effective at reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 when worn by everyone and used in combination with social distancing. Physical barriers, such as clear acrylic shields or “sneeze guards” can be used in high contact areas to further reduce risk to employees.