During these last few weeks of August, there will soon be swarms of college-aged students returning to campuses for the beginning of the 2020 fall semester. This means that thousands of students will be moving into new dorm rooms, using public restrooms, dining in public eating areas, and for some, returning to face to face classes.
With the surge of the Coronavirus outbreak, this is understandably worrisome. Having so many students living among each other and attending classes is almost encouraging the spread of the virus. Many schools have already made the transition to hold all of their classes in an online environment, rather than having them be taught in person because of the concern that was caused about the upcoming semester. Some universities, however, have yet to make that transition to virtual learning or have chosen to hold hybrid courses instead (which are classes that are taught partially online, partially in person), and because of this many returning students will be at risk to the virus we all know as COVID-19.
With students still returning to campuses, what will school look like during this pandemic?
As stated above. many schools have already decided to hold classes online, but for those who are continuing to learn in a face to face environment, life on campus will be much different than the typical campus experience.
The most noticeable difference will be that many universities are enforcing mask requirements campus-wide, having all students and faculty wearing a mask at all times while they are outside of private offices and dorm rooms, in order to limit the spreading of the Coronavirus. Some facilities are also encouraging the use of latex gloves to protect the wearer from contracting anything from the surfaces they may come in contact with throughout the day. Along with the new dress code, many universities have been seen limiting the capacity of many of their highly frequented areas (dining halls, restaurants and more) in order to ensure the opportunity for all students to social distance. Many schools are also having all of the dorms and public areas sanitized thoroughly every day.
How do you ensure a safe learning environment in the middle of this global disaster?
The answer starts with you. In order for you to be able to live on campus and stay healthy, you need to make sure that you are doing your part to keep yourself and others around you as safe as possible.
Many students have even chosen, despite their universities encouraging their return to campus, to take a gap year or to only take classes that their universities offer online instead of returning to campus this fall. However, there are many students that will be in the position of returning to school during this pandemic, and it is important that everyone is aware of the situation at hand, and what they can do to limit the spreading of the Coronavirus. Here are some things that you can keep in mind while on campus, that you can incorporate into your day to day life for those who will be attending in person this fall...
Helpful tips to keep in mind:
1. Social Distancing!!
Whenever you are in a space that other people are frequenting, make sure to maintain a distance of six feet apart (2 meters), this limits the contact you will have with other people that may have the virus and will help keep you, and others safe during the pandemic
Wearing a reusable cloth mask will help eliminate the chances of spreading germs to other individuals. It has been proven that masks will help contain the spreading of the virus if they are worn regularly. Having a reusable cloth mask will give you the opportunity to sanitize it regularly. Always wear your mask when you are out and about campus
Remember to sanitize your hands as often as possible and wipe down your workspace frequently! Keeping yourself clean will not only help prevent the opportunity of you acquiring the virus, but also lessen the chances of you spreading it to other people that you may interact with.
4. Minimal Contact!
While on campus it is important to make sure that you are making minimal contact with other people, including your friends, classmates and coworkers. This means you may have to find alternatives to things you may do in normal day-to-day life. Rather than shaking hands, try to wave. Maybe rather than hanging out in public spaces, try to catch up via Zoom or FaceTime. These may seem like small choices to make, but they can make a big difference when it comes to the virus.
5. Be Self Aware!
If you at any point suspect that you may have contracted the virus, STAY HOME! Make sure to monitor your temperature and symptoms to the best of your ability and stay safe. Make sure to contact a health provider immediately. If you think that you may have caught the Coronavirus it is important to do everything that you can in order to limit the opportunities of infecting other people around you.
6. Do Your Part!
Make sure to follow the guidelines provided by your university on COVID-19 procedures. It is important that everyone involved does their part in order to maintain a healthy environment on campus.
At the end of the day, what you decide to do is ultimately your decision, but it is important to note how your choices can affect those around you. It is crucial to stay safe and healthy during these times in order to continue on with life as we normally would. The virus has definitely left an impact on the way that schools will be operating this year, but in order to get back to normal life on campus, it is important that each and every person does their part in order to give everyone the opportunity to remain safe and healthy while getting their education this fall. Stay safe!
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