How College Students Can Stay Safe During the Coronavirus Epidemic
April 1, 2020
As more and more cases of the novel coronavirus pandemic are being reported, colleges and universities are taking various steps to mitigate the crisis in order to check the spread of the deadly virus. Campuses are closing down with limited notification, labs are closed, lecture halls empty, sports practices called off, and in-person classes are canceled due to the fear of spreading the virus.
While some schools are moving classes online, some are asking students to go home early for spring break and asking them not to come back until further notice. This is definitely a massive and unprecedented shift in higher education.
However, as students suddenly thrust into this choppy and uncharted waters, it is important they are guided with the right information to help them stay safe while they find their path in this perilous time. In this post are some tips that could help college students stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, as a follow-up to our post on must-have items for college students during the outbreak.
Tips for Students to Stay Safe and Engaged During the Coronavirus Epidemic
Tip #1: Follow Health and Safety Guidelines
For students who are still in session, it is important that they educate themselves on what to know about the virus and follow the necessary guidelines laid down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the world awaits a vaccine or treatment for the virus, CDC and other healthcare bodies continue to emphasize hygiene and their potency when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus.
Check through health and government organizations like CDC and NCDC to learn all you need to know about this virus. Know how it spreads, incubates, and also how you can prevent its spread. Knowing all of these will help you keep safe and calm even in the face of crisis and tension.
Tip #2: Observe Personal Hygiene
This is another important thing students need to carefully consider during this outbreak. Following certain preventive measures can help students minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission. Begin with regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially when you just returned from a public place, or after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
In a situation where there is no water and soap, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to cover your hands and gently rub it all over it.
Also, at this time, you need to be extra careful not to be touching your face, nose, eyes, or mouth with unwashed hands. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes doorknobs, tables, light switches, desks, toilets, keyboards, etc.
Tip #3: Practice Social Distancing
This is a term that is used to describe a situation where you will have to avoid having physical contact with other persons. Coronavirus is one that spreads easily from one person to another. This can be through having close contact with people who are already infected or through respiratory droplets when an infectious person coughs or sneezes. You can either inhaled these droplets or pick them up on surfaces and transfer them to your face via your hands.
So students should, at all costs, avoid close contact with people – whether they are already showing symptoms or not. Remember the incubation period of the virus is 14 days, and an infected person may not show any signs of infection until the 14 days. That is why you should completely isolate yourself once and for all in order to avoid contact direct contact with them.
If you are sick, stay at home and reach out to medical practitioners as quickly as you can. If you are around other people, you should wear facemasks to prevent the disease from spreading around.
Tip #4: Seek Out Financial Assistance
This time, one of the things the outbreak will cause is a problem with finance. But you can channel your way around this by turning to your parents for funds or seek out crowdfunding. But the first place you should check is the college financial aid office. Since on-campus jobs are disrupted already, students can also seek help from federal work-study organizations or organizations providing financial support to students.
Tip #5: Ask For Stay in Campus Housing
As many colleges are sending their students home, this will not be the case for many students. Students who are unable to go home because of some reasons – could be limited due to financial issues or because such students are international students unable to return to their home countries because it is heavily infected with the virus. In that situation, students can request to stay in campus housing.
Tip #6: Find Free Meals Both On-Campus and Off-Campus
One of the worries in the mind of most university students at this time of crisis is that they won’t be having access to food. However, students should know that some schools will keep the food pantries open. Some will also be delivering meals to students to help them survive this trying time.
Tip #7: Prepare for Online Classes
Shutting down campuses means students will not be able to access many physical resources on the campus. They will need to get some tools needed to navigate the online learning environment. Important among them is a computer and internet connection. While some colleges are making laptops available for the need of the students, some are providing a means through which students can borrow for a certain time and then return it.
What Is Social Distancing?
In a simple term, social distancing is maintaining at least six feet distance between you and other people. This means reducing physical contact with people as much as possible. Avoid hugging, shaking, or kissing people. When possible, avoid public transportation, cancel every unnecessary travel, skip social gatherings and study from home.
Every time you practice social distancing with friends, relatives, and co-students, you are significantly helping the spread of COVID-19.
How Can You Cope with Anxiety?
It is very important at this time that to maintain healthy mental health and wellbeing. For the next two months or thereabout, there are going to be incredible uncertainty and so students will need to look out for each other. If you think you are getting depressed or anxious already about the disease, you can reach out for support or talk to your school’s specialist mental health advisor for the right counseling and help.
When Do You Need To See a Doctor?
COVID-19 is a disease that is transmitted from one person to another. After exposure, it may take 2-14 days before anybody infected will start to see symptoms. Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Trouble breathing
- Bluish lips or face
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent pressure or pain in the chest
Whenever you notice any of these symptoms, it is time you speak with your medical provider to get appropriate testing for coronavirus.