Fordham Provides Free KN95 Masks

The CDC-recommended masks are available upon request from Public Safety, but students feel university could increase accessibility



KN95 masks offer greater protection against COVID-19 and are available at Public Safety offices.


Fordham’s Public Safety offices are offering KN95 masks upon request to students, faculty and staff seeking a higher level of protection from COVID-19. The new policy is in accordance with additional recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use surgical KN95 and N95 masks instead of cloth ones. 

According to John Carroll, associate vice president for administration and former director of Public Safety, Fordham remains consistent with CDC, NYC Department of Health and the university’s contracted epidemiologist’s guidelines, and continues to provide the recommended mask type for free. Carroll says students, faculty and staff can request as many masks as they need. 

The availability of the KN95 masks was first announced to students in a return to campus protocol email sent on Jan. 3 by Marco Valera, Fordham’s vice president for administration and COVID-19 coordinator. Further information can be found on Fordham’s COVID-19 informational page

“I would say it’s their job to have these resources more accessible.” Edward Garcia, FCLC ’24

“Initially, we provided 5 cloth masks to everyone that could be laundered; but, now the recommendation is only to use the cloth masks over the KN95, N95 and KF94,” Carroll said. “Disposable masks are now recommended over the non-disposable cloth masks originally issued last year.” 

Edward Garcia, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’24, believes that Fordham could have done a better job communicating with students upon their return to campus this semester. He points to the mask policy, crowded elevators and classrooms, and the required entry test that he believes was not enforced enough. 

“I would say it’s their job to have these resources more accessible,” he said. Garcia suggested the university provide the masks in frequented places, such as the library, and advertise the free masks more visibly. 

Lucy Peterson, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’22, echoed Garcia’s concerns, saying that she “had some idea they would be passing them out.”

The KN95 masks are available at Public Safety offices across the Rose Hill, Lincoln Center and Westchester campuses. Masks have also been distributed to the dean’s offices across the university and to security guards. 

Since Valera’s Jan. 3 email, the policy has not been widely advertised by the university.

“It’s helpful that they are saying we can provide you with them, but no one is actually doing anything about the kids not wearing masks.” Paulina Paszkowski, FCRH ’22

Paulina Paszkowski, FCRH ’22, has been concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and the use of masks as a commuting student. She bought her own medical-grade masks before returning to campus but still worries about contracting the virus. 

“It’s helpful that they are saying we can provide you with them, but no one is actually doing anything about the kids not wearing masks,” Paszkowski said. 

Fordham has been requiring all students and faculty to wear masks inside of the classroom at all times. On Feb. 2, the university announced that students would be allowed to drink beverages in class. 

“I’m not certain if all our students are taking advantage (of the free masks),” Carroll said. “But I do know that we have ample supplies for any student, faculty or staff that desires them.”