Temple University will no longer let students wear only cloth masks when they return to campus Monday. The Philadelphia university has changed its mask guidance amid a surge of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
Students will now have to wear a multi-layered surgical mask, double-mask, or a KN95 mask, FOX 29 of Philadelphia reported.
“To engage in what is most important to us and take advantage of on-campus living at Temple, we must continue to keep our health, wellness, and safety as the highest priority,” said Olan Garrett, associate vice president for student affairs, in a post on the university’s website.
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The KN95 mask is the best form of protection to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to new recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Temple is also pushing for students to test immediately after returning to the campus for the spring semester and to get their booster shots.
“All students regardless of vaccination status are strongly encouraged to test in the 48 hours immediately prior to your return to campus to avoid the possibility of testing positive after arrival,” Garrett said. “At-home tests will be accepted by uploading a photo of your result to the Patient Health Portal. If you are unable to get tested prior to arrival, all residential students will be required to have a COVID-19 test within 24 hours after their arrival on campus.”
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Temple is offering a limited supply of KN95 masks to students at various locations on campus, FOX 29 reported.
The university had announced before Christmas that classes would be held virtually until Jan. 21 to help combat the coronavirus and its variants, the station reported. Temple later delayed the student move-in date for the spring semester until Jan. 22.