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COVID-19 Respiratory Protection (N-95s) for Healthcare Settings


An N-95 is a particulate-filtering facepiece respirator that meets the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) N95 classification of air filtration. An N95 filters at least 95% of small sized airborne particles down to 0.3 microns. N signifies that it is not resistant to oil. The N-95 type is the most common particulate-filtering facepiece respirator.



The ISU Respiratory Protection Program applies to individuals wearing respirators, including N-95s. The three major requirements of this program are:

  • training
  • medical evaluation, and
  • fit testing.

For students and employees using N-95s in a healthcare or clinical setting, the training and medical evaluation can be done remotely.

EHS has established online training and has partnered with University Health Center for medical evaluation through the use of an OSHA respiratory protection medical questionnaire. The training and medical questionnaire are accessed through Moodle. The medical questionnaire is completed by the participant and submitted confidentially to University Health as explained in the Moodle training. It usually takes 2-4 days for the medical review to be complete. Once the training and medical evaluation are completed, fit tests can be scheduled within 7-10 days.

Contact your clinical coordinator, program director or instructor.

Please note that ISU has purchased a supply of N-95s to be used in clinical health care settings.  Models of N-95s available as of June 15, 2021 include: 3M8210, 3M1860 and Halyard fluidshield N-95s.

Clinic coordinators, program directors or instructors requiring N-95 fit testing services for employees or students, should contact EHS at  208-282-3669, 208-282-2310 or for assistance.  

EHS will: 

  • Verify the need for N-95 respirators.
  • Provide an access code for the Moodle training and medical evaluation, and
  • Schedule N-95 fit-testing for employees or students. 




A clean shaven face is required by OSHA for individuals wearing (or being fitted for) a tight fitting respirator. This includes an N-95 and any other filtering face piece respirator. The purpose of the requirement is to protect the individual wearing the respirator.

NIOSH and the CDC have worked together to compile the infographic below, illustrating which facial hairstyles will and will not work with a respirator.  ISU EHS utilizes this guidance when performing respirator fit tests. This CDC Facial Hair Guide  is available for printing and sharing. 

Multiple rows of men showing off compliant and non-compliant facial hair that work with respirators. Accepted facial hairstyles are: clean shaven, soul patches, short sideburns, and most mustaches.