University prepares for mask, PPE distribution

August 12, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With the start of the fall semester a few weeks away, Penn State officials have been working diligently to procure masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) and finalize plans for distribution to students, faculty and staff members.

The University has ordered 500,000 reusable Penn State-branded cloth face masks and plans to give each student, faculty and staff member two masks each to supplement their existing personal masks. Students, faculty and staff members are reminded they should have their own masks when they arrive on campus.

Students who plan to reside on campus at any Penn State location will receive their masks when they arrive or from Residence Life staff. 

Students living off campus will receive their masks through a variety of methods. At the University Park campus, Penn State is working with 28 local apartment complexes and property owners to distribute masks to approximately 18,000 students living off campus. Leaders from Greek-life organizations will distribute masks to approximately 6,000 student members. Students who do not receive masks through their property owner or a Greek-life organization will have the opportunity to pick up their masks using their Penn State ID at tables in front of the Allen Street gates and at the HUB-Robeson Center.

Students attending a Commonwealth Campus who live off campus may pick up their masks using their Penn State ID at designated locations on their campus.

Man loads disposable face masks on truck

For faculty and staff, Penn State Environmental Health and Safety, in coordination with Procurement and General Stores, has been working with distribution contacts at campuses, academic colleges and units to supply them with masks and PPE. Each unit will handle its own mask/PPE distribution, which includes cloth face masks, clear masks, procedure masks, face shields and bottles of hand sanitizer. Employees will be hearing from their unit leadership regarding specific distribution plans.

IMAGE: Pat Mansell

For faculty and staff, Penn State Environmental Health and Safety, in coordination with Procurement, Office of Physical Plant and General Stores, has been working with distribution contacts at campuses, academic colleges and units to supply them with masks and PPE. Each unit will handle its own mask/PPE distribution, which includes cloth face masks, clear masks, procedure masks, face shields and bottles of hand sanitizer. Employees will be hearing from their unit leadership regarding specific distribution plans.

Each faculty member teaching classes with an in-person component will receive a supply of procedure masks, as well as bottles of hand sanitizer to disinfect microphones and other shared surfaces. 

Faculty members who teach courses that may require additional PPE — language teachers who need clear face masks or laboratory-based instructors who need face shields, for example – should receive their supplemental PPE automatically. Faculty members who need a face shield or clear face mask but did not receive one will be able to make a request to their unit.

As part of its effort to promote the health and safety of the University community, Penn State has ordered an initial supply of more than 2 million pieces of PPE and face coverings, including 500,000 cloth masks; 1.5 million surgical masks; 14,100 face shields; 8,200 clear masks; and 33,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.

The University has sourced its cloth masks and PPE from around the world as well as from local vendors. Penn State’s face shields are being supplied by Bellefonte-based Actuated Medical, and some hand sanitizer was purchased from ALEOMBE Inc. With headquarters at Innovation Park in State College.

Although the University plans to have all masks and PPE ready for distribution by the start of fall semester classes, high demand and global supply constraints for these items may cause minor delays with some items. 

Last Updated August 13, 2020