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Temple University Tightening Mask Rules As In-Person Learning Resumes For Spring Semester Next Week

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Thousands of local college students will head back to campus for the spring semester on Monday, but some will be following new mask rules.

Temple University said Friday people on campus will have three mask options: a surgical mask made of multiple layers, a surgical mask doubled up with a cloth one, or a KN95.

Temple's policy is similar to the University of Pennsylvania. The Ivy League school requires people on campus to wear either a KN95 or N95 or a disposable with a cloth mask.

"It's about being safe on campus," Temple University freshman John Atkinson said.

Safety for students and safety for staff. Temple University is updating its masking policy for the spring semester. The simple cloth masks will no longer be sufficient.

"People debate on whether or not we should stay in person. I'm not sure," sophomore Yousuf Akbar said. "I think we do have to move on, and I think that maybe applying these rules might help."

In a letter to parents, school officials said they are following updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC now says cloth masks are no longer adequate in protecting against COVID-19.

The university says a "good" option is a surgical mask, a "better" option is a surgical mask with a cloth mask over it, but the "best" option is a KN95 mask.

"I guess if it's tested that they are more effective, I don't really have a problem," junior Will Harding said.

Graceanne Griffis, a sophomore at Temple University, said they'd rather change their mask than switch to virtual learning.

"Online school is not for me," Griffis said.

Penn is also resuming in-person classes on Monday. Everyone on campus is required to double mask with a surgical mask and cloth mask or wear a KN95 mask or N-95 mask.

Drexel University is already back to in-person classes. The college has not required upgraded masks, but it suggests people double mask or wear a KN95 or N95 mask.

"High filtration masks, including N95 respirators, KN95, and KF94 provide better protection than cloth masks or even surgical masks," said Dr. Abraar Karan, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford University.

Back at Temple, one junior believes the university is doing what it can to protect its students.

"I think they're doing the best they can because COVID is changing," Kyle Teoh said, "and since It's changing so much, there's no set way to prevent it. But they're still trying their best."

Temple says students who do not have an upgraded mask can pick one up on campus. Students can order one from the U.S. government.

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