Norristown, PA — Just a few weeks in, the fall 2020 semester is already full of uncertainty for colleges and universities around the country. Major institutions like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have already been forced to halt in-person learning just a few weeks after inviting students back on campus for learning due to COVID-19 outbreaks. The long list of schools that have had to close just weeks after opening includes the University of Missouri and the University of Southern California.
Many schools that are still operating have had to create strict quarantine policies after pockets of infection were discovered. A sorority house at Oklahoma State University is under quarantine after at least 27 COVID-19 cases were discovered. At the University of Notre Dame, most of the school’s 58 confirmed cases can be tied to a single social gathering. College and university administrators face a crucial period that will ultimately determine the fate of in-person instruction for the rest of the academic year.
“The rise we’ve seen in recent days is unacceptable, and if unchecked, threatens our ability to complete the rest of the semester on campus,” according to University of Alabama President, Stuart Bell. School administrators around the country share Bell’s sentiment. The way that schools handle social distancing and quarantine practices in the weeks to come will ultimately determine if the spread of COVID-19 across college campuses can be controlled.
Most of the “spread” points tied to outbreaks on campuses around the country have been social events where large groups of students have gathered to socialize. It appears that a lack of mask-wearing may be at least partly to blame for the outbreaks that have been seen so far. One way colleges and universities can ensure that mask policies are enforced is by supplying reliable, effective personal protective equipment (PPE) to both students and faculty on campus. Countless studies have shown the effectiveness of N95 masks in preventing the spread of particles that may contain COVID-19 in recent months. Those same studies have also shown the ineffectiveness of most of the lesser masks options used. Unfortunately, many single-ply cloth masks, bandannas and neck gaiters were worn by students on college campuses offer little protection. What’s more, options like neck gaiters have been shown to potentially increase the spread of COVID-19 particles due to the porousness of the fabric used.
“Colleges and universities are at a pivotal point where proper PPE can potentially help them to rescue the rest of the semester,” says a spokesperson for Secure Components of Norristown, Pennsylvania. A supplier of masks and PEE, Secure Components has been shipping N95 supplies to schools, hospitals and businesses throughout the pandemic. The team at Secure Components is currently opening up orders for colleges and universities in need of dependable, highly vetted bulk supplies of N95 masks and PPE.