SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As cases of COVID and the omicron variant continue to climb, universities in our area are ramping up with tougher restrictions to keep students safe and in the classroom.

Students at the University of Scranton will be returning to campus next week. But this semester, they’ll have to follow even stricter protocols, like double-masking.

There’s a new mask mandate at the University of Scranton. All members of the school community are now required to wear N95 or KN95 face coverings. Without one, they’ll have to double-up on cloth and surgical masks to comply with the school’s updated policy.

“Our intention for following these protocols is of course to have in-person classes. It’s what our students want, we know it’s what they want, they want the in-person activities as well. So, we’re creating a bubble within our campus,” University of Scranton director of news and media relations Stan Zygmunt said.

To keep campus open, university officials say they’re following the latest guidance from the CDC to combat the omicron variant. But students like junior Angelo Monaco believe it to be a bit extreme.

“It’s unfortunate that those are the circumstances, because I know a lot of us don’t want to do that,” Monaco said.

While these types of masks are in high-demand, the university has a plan in place to get some in the hands of students, faculty and staff.

“We do have masks, and we are going to be providing masks but we have a limited supply,” Zygmunt said.

Monaco hopes the restrictions will ease in the coming months.

“Anything for, you know, me to stay here, for all of us to stay here, so, I guess we gotta do what we gotta do,” Monaco said.

And even if students can find the N95 masks they aren’t cheap. They’re going for double the price as the common disposable masks.