Letters to the UMB Community

Why KN95s?

September 17, 2021

Dear UMB Community:

By now you’ve seen the new guidance about wearing KN95 masks while on campus. I want to reiterate that this is a preventative measure based on public health expertise that guides the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. 

A KN95 mask provides better protection for you and reduces the spread of the virus from someone wearing one. You are less likely to develop COVID-19 after close contact with someone who tested positive when wearing one. It also means we can generally reduce or eliminate self-isolation or quarantine requirements, which is particularly important in classroom environments with students sitting in a communal setting for long periods of time. UMB will provide you with a KN95 through your school or unit. You can learn more about KN95s, including how to care for them, here.

This University has been incredible in taking individual and collective actions to fight this horrible virus. In fact, 94.17 percent of on-campus employees and 98.26 percent of on-campus students are already vaccinated against COVID-19. We have not had significant spread attributed to activities occurring at UMB.

Our COVID-19 Hotline (1-800-701-9863) has helped stop the spread of COVID-19 on campus throughout the pandemic — and continues to help in our efforts to reduce infections and illness.

Please call the hotline if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, have been exposed to the virus, or have a diagnosis of COVID-19. This will help you understand what to do if you are sick or have been exposed. An infection prevention case manager will get the right employee or student health team to assist with decisions about symptom monitoring, quarantining, testing, identifying possible transmission, and developing return to work or school plans.

While I know that it’s been a very long time since we first instituted COVID-19 safety measures on campus, I also know that this community takes public health seriously. Thank you for staying flexible and doing your part to keep yourself and our community safe.



Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS




Back to Letters to the UMB Community