Mask Guidance FAQ (Spring 2022)

Last updated January 5, 2022

What is a KN95?

A KN95 mask reduces the amount of dust or virus particles a person breathes in by approximately 95 percent.

Why has Lewis & Clark adopted a requirement that community members wear KN95 masks?

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is highly transmissible– twice as contagious as the Delta variant. While cloth masks provide some protection, and surgical masks provide more, a KN-95 mask provides substantially more protection against disease transmission than either cloth or surgical masks.

Where are KN95s required?

Wherever masks are required. As of January 3, 2022, this is in indoor public settings on campus, and on college-provided transportation, including the Pioneer Express.

When KN95s are required, does Lewis & Clark allow any masks other than KN95s?

In addition to KN95s, Lewis & Clark permits individuals to wear masks with the following international classifications. Please note that masks with valves are not permitted.

Mask Class

Efficiency (≥)

Country Certification Standard







KP95 (oil proof)



KP100 (oil proof)








European Union



European Union

DS2 or DL2



DS3 or DL3





Australian and New Zealand



Australian and New Zealand







Japan and the European Union have a 3-scale rating system for masks with the lowest level having an 80 percent efficiency rating. Thus, Japan DS1 or DL1 class and European Union FFP1 class masks are not permitted due to the lower efficiency level.

I have not yet been able to obtain any KN95 masks. How can I get some?

If you have not been able to obtain KN-95 masks, please contact to arrange to pick up a small number of masks. We have a limited supply, so please leave this supply for those who haven’t been able to access KN95 masks.

I have heard that some KN95 masks in the marketplace are counterfeit. How do I know if my KN95 mask is counterfeit?

It is true that some KN-95’s currently being sold are counterfeit. KN95s are not certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). We suggest checking out this website for some helpful information to distinguish authentic KN-95s from counterfeit ones.

Should I wear a cloth mask with my KN95?

No, wearing a cloth mask in addition to your KN95 reduces its effectiveness.

Will a KN95 protect me during an exposure to COVID-19?

If you are exposed to the virus while wearing a KN95, you are less likely to develop COVID-19.

Why use a KN95 instead of an N95?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that N95s be reserved for use by health care providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Do I need to wear a KN95 mask when teaching?


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.

  • Unfold your mask and flatten the metal nose clip.

  • 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 air flow around the mask.

  • Significant facial hair (more than 3-days growth) adversely effects the ability of the KN95 to form a tight seal around your face and thus reduces the KN95’s effectiveness at protecting you from COVID-19. Therefore, parts of your face that come in contact with the KN95 should ideally be free of significant facial hair.

  • 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. A dry paper bag works well for storing your KN95.

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.

Credit for portions of the above information extended to staff at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.