The questions about whether students should be treated like workers is surprising. Ralph just said it - liability dictates offering an equivalent standard of care. Maybe even better because the parents have entrusted their kids to the institution's care. Students who are under age are going to warrant additional safety and health protection as do inexperienced people. Respirators come in sizes based on the adult population. They may not fit some underage users. I would be reluctant to rely on N95 filtering facepieces for respiratory protection. The controversy about how much protection they offer is not yet settled (OSHA set an Applied Protection Factor of 10, but the ANSI standard is still pending). Its easy to ignore the instructions and pinch fit the mask over the nose or cut a strap. Its easy to use a filtering facepiece for a highly toxic material like asbestos. Also N95s are particulate removing devices while carbon-treated N95s have limited vapor protection capabilities. You'll need elastomeric facepieces with properly selected cartridges for serious gas/vapor protection. N95s are not a panacea. Students, like anybody else, need to use respirators that they are able to use and that will work. That means medical qualification followed by fit testing followed by being issued properly selected respirators that will control exposures to the contaminants of interest followed by properly maintaining and servicing them so they continue to protect. There's a well-known way to ensure these actions are taken and that is to comply with the OSHA standard. Finally, I can just imagine the facial hair issues that will arise, say with adult male students and faculty in a fine arts department! Ralph had it right when he advised doing air sampling and proving masks aren't needed. But follow OSHA if they are.
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