LARAMIE, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming (UW) will distribute KN-95 masks to students and staff at the start of the spring semester which begins tomorrow, Jan. 18, 2022.

The university’s aim is to provide optimal protection against the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

“We are all aware that Omicron is here and very contagious. While many people experience mild symptoms, that is not the case for all people, and many within the UW community live with people who are at high risk or are at high risk themselves,” said UW President Ed Seidel.

“Probably the most important thing we can do right now to protect those people — and to avoid quarantine and isolation for many of us — is to wear better masks. Cloth masks only block about 50 percent or less of both outgoing and incoming viral particles. So, while any mask is better than none, we encourage our students and employees to pick up the higher-quality masks and use them.”

KN-95 masks reduce the risk of infection by at least 10 times compared with most cloth masks. They are relatively easy to buy online and are fairly inexpensive, along with N-95 and KF-94 masks. All of these masks are designed for single-use, but experts say they can probably be used several times, although it’s a good idea to let them sit for a few days between uses.

UW requires masks in most indoor spaces through at least Feb. 16.

As of Thursday, there were 55 active cases of COVID-19 among the UW community; 31 students off-campus, seven students on campus and 17 employees.

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Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.