Stanford: Require and provide N95-type electrostatic masks for in-person classes

Stanford: Require and provide N95-type electrostatic masks for in-person classes

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Petition to
Stanford University

Why this petition matters

Pending the return of in-person teaching to Stanford University on January 24th, we would like to request that Stanford provide and require students attending in-person classes wear one of the following mask combinations:

  • KN95, N95, or KF94 masks
  • Other types of masks producing an electrostatic charge 
  • Double-layered surgical or cloth masks, if the above options are not feasible.

Recent studies (see Collins et al., 2021Blanchere et al., 2021) have shown that these masking types and combinations are much more effective against the spread of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 than are other masking types such as homemade or cloth masks.

As it stands currently, many students, particularly those with underlying conditions, are not comfortable going to in-person classes with the prevalence of COVID-19 on campus and in surrounding areas. Professors and teaching assistants who may live with families, elderly parents, or housemates will also benefit from this requirement as it will help them protect their own health and that of their loved ones. This is an easy-to-implement and science-backed way to help all students, staff, and faculty, including those of us who are immunocompromised, to feel more comfortable attending in-person courses. 

This petition has strong precedent: countries including the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany have already mandated the use of N95-style respirators in indoor settings. 

To maintain access and equity for all students, we further request that Stanford provide masks to all students, with enough for each student to use a different mask each school day, thus allowing ample time for mask disinfection. Again, this is not without precedent: Stanford dining halls provided KN95 masks for students who forgot masks throughout the Spring and Summer quarters of the 2020-21 academic year. If providing masks for all students is not possible, we request that N95-style masks be available upon student request, and that double-masking requirements are instated in all in-person courses. 

As a school that prides itself on a commitment to equity and inclusion -- and as one with a sizable population of immunocompromised students, staff, and faculty -- requiring electrostatic respirators is an effective way to make classes safer for all students and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Thank you for your consideration. 

79 have signed. Let’s get to 100!