N95 masks Distributed to Student Body


Ashley Xu (she/her)

N95 masks distributed in the main quad from January 13 to 17. Photos by Yasmine Chang (she/her).

Due to the recent influx of COVID-19 Omicron cases popping up around campus, Campolindo announced in a mass email to students that N95 masks would be distributed and available in the Main Quad 15 minutes before school from January 13 through January 18.

This is among a series of other precautionary measures Campo has taken to help stop the spread of Omicron, including giving out free rapid-testing kits and enforcing seating charts for contact tracing.

According to Attendance and Health Technician Stephanie Sliwinsksi, “The goal is to reduce COVID exposure at school…these are the best of the best masks and they’re hard to get. So we’re hoping that this will help in our battle against COVID-19.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), N95 masks offer a greater number of health benefits as opposed to the typical surgical masks donned by a large number of the student body. These include reducing the wearer’s exposure to smaller airborne particles (filtering at least 95%) and having a tighter face sealing fit.

“A lot of people tend to forget masks when they come to school. So it’s really useful to have them around and know that they’re available,” said junior Elizabeth Chien. “I don’t feel like I’m as safe wearing [surgical masks] compared to an N95.”

Campus Supervisor Max Luckhurst was 1 of the staff who helped pass out the masks, and noted that the turnout was “great especially for the 1st day. We handed out a ton to people who were really receptive to having them. [Some also] put extra 1s in their bags. I think we’ll be able to do it for a few more days because we have a good inventory [supplied by the district].”

With the recent Omicron spike in cases, 1 of the more limiting factors of N95 masks is the price. On Amazon, a pack of 20 now goes for $69.98, coming at around $3.50 per individual mask. This is compared to basic surgical masks, priced at $8.99 for a pack of 50, or $0.18 per individual mask.

Chien noted this, and said that she’s “glad they’re more accessible now for everyone now that the [district] has brought them to us.”

“We want the best for our students and that’s why we have them for [them]. And we hope that it reduces a little stress and anxiety for families, [knowing] that at least their child has an N95 to wear at school,” Sliwinski added.

Sliwinski asks students to still remain diligent in wearing their masks, as well as take care in sanitizing their hands as often as possible. “…Get your vaccine and get boosted, that’s my advice… And then I tell my kids at home when you see a bottle of hand sanitizer, use it. So if your eyes fall upon it, that’s a sign to use it.”

After January 18, masks will still be readily available in the office for all students and staff.