April 7 Message to Students: Limitations on Student Masks

To Our Students:

Please accept our apologies.

We thought we had been clear when we opened yesterday’s message about masks with “To Our Students Living on Campus.”

We would very much like to have enough masks to provide to every single Case Western Reserve student (and staff, and faculty member). And we are engaging with outside organizations to try to get additional material (cloth and elastics) to make them. But at this point, we only have what we have. And we must reserve those for the students on campus who need them most—those living in campus residences in relative close quarters who have no other viable options for housing. Also, no students received N-95 masks—only surgical ones until we can secure cloth versions that can be washed.

Here’s where we need to say we are sorry a second time. We had thought graduate students who had to work in labs already had received masks for those duties. In the last 24 hours, however, we learned we were mistaken. So whatever additional masks we have will go to these students working on campus in roles where they interact with others. We have received one list from a school providing the names of those students. As others follow suit, we will contact them as well.

In the meantime, you may want to consider adapting material you already have—an old T-shirt, a bandana, etc.—and two rubber bands. The U.S. Surgeon General shows how to make one in 45 seconds, and a local television anchor demonstrated a slightly different approach over the weekend. And, again, the Centers for Disease Control also offers guidance.

We regret the disappointment so many of you felt yesterday and this morning. We promise to update you if we are able to secure additional masks—and/or materials to make them.

Lou Stark
Vice President for Student Affairs

Sara Lee, MD
Executive Director for Health and Counseling Services