College Care Packages in a Pandemic Aim to Keep Students Safe

Project N95 logo in dark blue and orange

Project N95 logo

Adding high quality masks, PPE and COVID-19 tests to college care packages this fall can help students stay safe.

The best protection for students can’t be packed in a box. Encourage students to get vaccinated if they are not.”

— Project N95

BROOKLYN, NY, UNITED STATES, September 23, 2021 / — Along with sugar- and caffeine-filled treats, parents across the U.S. are including high quality masks, hand sanitizer and COVID-19 tests in the care packages they are boxing up for their students this fall. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to open access to personal protective equipment (PPE) across the U.S., Project N95 is releasing this College Care Package checklist to help parents plan ahead as they resupply their students.

College Care Package Checklist:
– Vaccinations — The best protection for students actually can’t be packed in a box. Encourage students to get vaccinated if they are not.

– Highly protective masks — Whether a student’s college or university requires masks or not, protective high quality masks are a good idea given the prevalence of the Delta variant.

Having masks on hand means students will be able to mask up when around unvaccinated friends, coming in contact with a person testing positive for COVID-19 or simply spending time in a crowded space.

N95 respirators are the most effective choice and come in more variety of shapes and sizes than many people realize. Vetted, legitimate KN95 masks in black, or ASTM rated surgical masks (which will be most effective when double masked with a close fitting cloth mask) are also popular and effective choices. Regardless of which mask students choose, fit is extremely important. Masks should fit snugly, without gaps around students’ noses or cheeks.

– COVID-19 Tests — Many schools provide testing as needed, typically at no charge to the student. Even if this is the case, the flexibility of having a test on hand can be useful when living off campus and when coming home for a break or the holidays, to use prior to spending time with vulnerable family members or unvaccinated younger siblings. Note that many PCR tests require samples to be mailed in to a lab for analysis for results (generally with results available within 24-48 hours of lab receipt). Students should read test directions carefully and allow for turnaround times.

– Hand Sanitizer — Recommended for the times when hand washing with soap and water isn’t an option. Make sure hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol. There are many different bottle sizes to consider, including “pump dispenser” countertop sizes or smaller bottles to slip into a backpack.

– Thermometer — If this isn’t already in a student’s first aid kit, now is a good time to send one. Consider a “no contact” thermometer to reduce the chance of spreading an infection if roommates borrow it.

Since launching in 2020, Project N95 has provided more than 10 million units of personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the United States. After adding COVID-19 test kits to its product offerings in early 2021, the organization has continued to innovate to open access and provide critical equipment for everyone. To find supplies such as N95 respirators, KN95 masks, surgical masks and COVID-19 tests, visit

About Project N95:
Project N95 protects communities and the people who live and work in them by providing equitable access to the resources they need to stay safe through the COVID-19 pandemic. As a leading rapid response nonprofit organization created in response to the pandemic, Project N95 has delivered more than 10 million units of personal protective equipment since May 2020, including more than 2 million units donated to communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Project N95 has become the National Clearinghouse for critical PPE and diagnostic tests. Visit to learn more or to volunteer.

Kimberly Paulk
Project N95
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