Skip to main content

Masks and PPE

Following current state and county public health guidance, masks are optional at all IU campuses.

$imageAlt

Free masks on campus

Students, faculty and staff can visit designated locations weekly for a KN95 or N95 mask. Masks will be distributed as supplies are available. This expanded offering will be in addition to the surgical masks already available at most building entrances.

Find where to get your mask

Mask policy on IU campuses

Following current state and county public health guidance, masks are optional at all IU campuses.

Classrooms, residence halls, dining spaces, building common areas and IU Athletics venues are all examples of indoor spaces where mask use is optional.

Masks will continue to be required in many health care settings and in some laboratories where hazard assessments have identified them as proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

Wear the best mask possible

As we've learned more about COVID-19 and its ability to spread through respiratory droplets, guidance on masks has evolved. With the current spread of the omicron variant, it's strongly recommended you wear the best mask possible: a surgical mask is better than cloth; a KN95 is better than surgical.

$imageAlt

N95

N95 masks are designed to filter out 95 percent of airborne particles of a certain size (.3 microns and larger). N95 masks must meet NIOSH standards, form a tight seal around the nose and mouth and feature head bands instead of ear loops. OSHA does allow for voluntary use of N95 masks without medical clearance and the mask being fit tested.

$imageAlt

KN95

KN95 masks are designed to filter out 95 percent of airborne particles of a certain size. The KN95 designation meets Chinese standards and is similar to the U.S.'s N95 mask designation. KN95 masks are generally used when filtering facepiece respirators are not required but filtering airborne particles is desired.

$imageAlt

KF94

KF94 masks are designed to filter out 94 percent of airborne particles of a certain size. The KF94 designation meets Korean standards and is similar to the U.S.'s N95 mask designation. KF94 masks are generally used when filtering facepiece respirators are not required but filtering airborne particles is desired.

$imageAlt

Surgical mask

Surgical masks are looser fitting than a KN95 and have three layers. They should still fit well over your mouth and nose with no gaps on the sides. These masks significantly help reduce the number of respiratory droplets and germs individuals may release into the air around them.

$imageAlt

Cloth mask

While cloth masks were a primary option early in the pandemic, with the rampant spread of the omicron variant, cloth masks should be traded for a mask with greater filtration capabilities like a surgical or KN95 mask, especially in crowded indoor settings.

Mask fit guidelines from the CDC

  • fully cover your mouth and nose
  • fit snugly against the sides of your face with no gaps
  • have ties or ear loops to prevent slipping
  • have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out the top of your mask

Examples of masks that are not acceptable include (but are not limited to):

  • covering your face with a t-shirt
  • scarves
  • gaiters
  • bandannas

Putting on and removing your mask

To safely put on your mask:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Touch only the ear loops and place them over your ears.
  • Do not touch your face covering except to adjust it to your nose and face.
  • Ensure your face covering fits over your nose and under your chin.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when putting on your mask.

To safely remove your mask:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Touch only the ear loops and remove them from your ears.
  • For reuse, place the covering in a paper bag.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when taking off your mask.

Caring for your mask

  • Disposable KN95 and surgical masks are designed for single use.
  • Inspect masks. If it is damaged or misshapen, replace it or repair it before reuse.
  • Frequently launder cloth masks. Use the warmest water temperature permissible and laundry detergent and allow them to dry completely before reuse. It isn't necessary to bleach masks.

IU guidance on masks and PPE