uga mask

A University of Georgia mask lays in the sunlight in Bethlehem, Georgia on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean)

In June, the University of Georgia announced a distribution of two cloth face masks and a thermometer to all students to use during the fall semester. The masks and thermometer have been sent to students’ home addresses listed in Athena beginning July 1.

Masks will also be required on UGA’s campus this fall while inside buildings or buses on campus. Before returning to campus, here’s everything you need to know about these masks.

The masks and thermometers have been mailed to students, UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor said in an email to The Red & Black. Any packages returned as “undeliverable” will be handled by UGA’s Mail and Receiving Services, and students who did not receive their mail can pick them up at the Tate Student Center or the Ramsey Student Center when they return to campus.

Students received two masks of two different styles: a gray mask with the classic Georgia “G” on the front, and a black mask with no logo.

Some of the gray branded “Super G” face coverings have “faulty ear loops due to a manufacturing problem,” Trevor said in an email. UGA will replace these free of charge, and anyone who received a gray mask with damaged ear loops can contact Susan Baxter at sbaxter@uga.edu.

overheard broken mask

A broken Georgia G mask. (Courtesy/Alexandria Brianna via Overheard at UGA)

The gray mask is not a medical-grade mask and is not meant to be used in a clinical setting, according to the packaging. Though no packaging indicates the medical status of the black mask, the mask is from StringKing, and its product listing says that its masks are not medical-grade surgical masks or N95 respirators.

Though the masks aren’t medical-grade, cloth masks are effective in preventing the spread of illnesses such as COVID-19 because they contain respiratory droplets before they are expelled into the air, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that respiratory droplets traveled 50 to 75 mm in the air without a face covering while the use of a covering contained almost all of them.

The gray mask also has a pocket for a filter insert, although no filter is provided. You can buy a variety of face masks filters online. The CDC recommends that face masks have multiple layers.

Cloth masks should be washed after each use, according to the CDC. They can be cleaned in the washing machine with regular laundry or by hand with a mixture of bleach and water. The gray mask should be air-dried, according to the packaging, but the black mask can be dried in the drier or air.

Cloth masks should be worn in addition to other health recommendations, according to UGA’s reopening memo. These recommendations include physical distancing, hand hygiene, surface cleaning and disinfection.

The university is spending around $300,000 on 120,000 reusable masks for the UGA community.

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