Campus News

Free N95 masks and COVID tests now available

Kirkwood Community College continues to recommend face mask be worn inside campus buildings.

The Center for Disease Control is now recommending people wear N95 masks, which may be reused up to five times. Students interested in obtaining N95 masks can get them for free at many local Hy-Vee and Walmart stores.

Kirkwood students have varying thoughts on how long they plan to wear masks indoors. Bryan Oo, engineering, said he plans to wear a mask until a cure for COVID is found. On the other hand, Kenzi Hagen, Liberal Arts, said she will wear a mask as long as Kirkwood recommends it.

There are many different types of face masks students wear. CDC stated that homemade facemasks are recommended to be worn by the general public but are not considered PPE, or personal protective equipment, as they do not provide protection from fluids.

Barrier face coverings are the disposable face coverings that Kirkwood offers. These masks do not meet the same standards as a surgical mask but they will offer some protection and some aerosol protection.

Surgical face masks are often handed out at doctors’ offices and hospital. They offer slightly more coverage than barrier face masks. These masks are disposable and they should be thrown away once soiled.

N95 offers a firm seal around the face to try to prevent as many droplets both leaving and entering one’s breathing area and can come different sizes to give the best fit.

Hospital staff are given training to learn how to wear an N95 mask properly so students interested in learning more about that can find videos on YouTube.

Graphic Design Professor Lea Ann Eddins stated that she prefers to wear N95s because she doesn’t know where her students have been and they don’t know where she’s been. She said it’s a way to keep everyone safe.

In addition to free masks, students can also order free COVID tests at

College statement on face masks

• You are requested to wear a face mask inside campus buildings. The college is asking that individuals wear a mask when in groups in enclosed spaces for longer periods of time regardless of vaccination status. Disposable masks are readily available throughout the campus.

• Get vaccinated. This is the most helpful thing you can do to protect yourself, your friends and co-workers and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

• Stay home if you are sick. This is especially true if you have a fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell or other symptoms of illness.

• Get tested if you have COVID symptoms. Testing is readily available through Test Iowa, local health care providers, and many local pharmacies.