College Life and COVID-19

Now that mass vaccination drives have started, schools and colleges will resume normal functioning sooner or later. It’s understandable if you’re worried about returning to college in times of COVID-19. While your fear is valid, going back to college need not be all that bad. Taking some necessary precautions will help you stay safe and out of harm’s way. 

Here are a few precautionary measures you want to take on campus:

Practice social distancing: This point can’t be emphasized enough. Ever wondered why there’s so much emphasis on social distancing? Simply because it is effective and it works! Maintain at least 6 feet distance from others. Do not flout social distancing rules. 

Don’t go out unless necessary: If you stay on campus, do not step out of the campus unless necessary. Make sure you follow all the guidelines established by your college administration. 

Wear a mask: Wear a mask as if your life depended on it, because it does. Wearing a mask is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself if you have to step outside. Choose comfort over style, and buy a mask that doesn’t suffocate you. 

Clean, disinfect, sanitize, repeat: Keep your dorm room clean. Make sure you disinfect surfaces that you frequently touch, like door knobs, handles, etc. Sanitize your hands each time you touch something in a common or crowded area. Use a quality sanitizer that doesn’t disturb the natural pH balance of your skin. Use a sanitizer only when you cannot wash your hands. At other times, wash your hands. Since frequent hand washing can dry your palms, use a good moisturizer. 

Avoid eating in the cafeteria and common areas: Opt for the take-away option. Get your food packed and eat in a place that isn’t too crowded. Avoid eating in the college cafeteria or any enclosed food court. You could sit out in the open on good-weather days and enjoy a nice picnic lunch instead.  

Avoid hanging out in big groups: Stick to smaller groups and avoid meeting too many people at once. Say no to parties and other group activities. Do not get carried away or be careless. Carelessness can not only affect you, but it can affect several others along with you. 

Volunteer for sentinel testing: Check with your college administration about sentinel testing. Sentinel testing helps collect information that is useful in monitoring COVID-19. It’s a fairly simple test where a swab is used to collect your mucus or saliva sample to check for the virus. If there’s an opportunity to get yourself tested, don’t hesitate to volunteer.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Prevention is better than cure. Make sure you take all the necessary measures to stay safe. Eat nutritious food, get good sleep, and do some exercises to stay fit. Practice mindfulness techniques or meditate if you’re feeling stressed. Take it easy when you feel overwhelmed. 

If you feel ill, despite taking all the suggested safety measures, do not panic. Contact a healthcare provider: Call a doctor’s office or schedule a virtual appointment if you are unwell. Avoid contact with other people. Keep calm and alert your family, college administrators, and healthcare providers. Quarantine yourself as per the guidelines and wait for your symptoms to subside. Take all the necessary medication diligently. Eat well and get lots of sleep. Take rest. 

Do remember that several people have recovered from COVID-19. The key is to keep calm and follow the instructions given by your caregivers and healthcare providers. What other strategies are you using to cope with life on campus during the pandemic? Share with us in the comments below.

 

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