Sending Your Freshman to College During Coronavirus: One Professor’s Opinion

While college during coronavirus
Mask up, Dad.

Parents, sending your freshman to college during a pandemic probably wasn’t on your to-do list this year. As colleges and universities have begun sharing their plans for campus safety, parents and student might be talking through how to manage those rules, or even supplement them with additional steps. How do you prepare for college during coronavirus? One long-time professor, who has taught freshman for many years, recently shared their opinion on Facebook. (Full disclosure, Professor Scott and I are friends, and went to graduate school together.)

One Professor’s Opinion On Attending College During Coronavirus

Someone asked me last night for my advice since I have taught freshmen for nearly 25 years. Here are my thoughts: If I had a child heading to college this fall, I’d be renting an apartment. I’d send my kid to live in a dorm only if the uni has made changes to alleviate stressors of communal living. Kids should not have roommates and no more than 2-3 people should have to share a bathroom. Lysol should be provided in each room and bathroom.

I would also direct him to change his schedule and take online classes only or to ensure a teacher is taking a hybrid approach that enables him to attend class for a shorter amount of time with a small group only. It is possible. I’ve done it. I would also forbid my child from eating at a table in a dining hall. Carry out only. Better yet, I’d spend the summer teaching him how to cook and grocery shop via online ordering and curbside pick up.

Would his experience be different? Yes. Would it be forever? No. Campus should be different this fall than it has ever been. If it isn’t, then that is not a place you should send your kid.

C.M. Scott, Professor

RELATED: COVID and Colleges: FAQs to Keep In Mind

Apartments Off Campus

If you’re able, you might still have some time to find an apartment off campus. Most universities are desperately looking for ways to reduce the number of students in residence halls and will more than likely let you out of a contract. If this is a possibility for your student, and it would make everyone feel safer about the number of people around them, look into it now.

Dining Halls

Dining halls can be overcrowded during the best of circumstances. Taking food out, and eating in the dorm as much as possible, will help with social distancing rules. Keeping easy on-hand food items like protein bars and fruit is a good idea. Grocery stores will deliver to on-campus addresses as well! And it’s an easy way for parents to get needed items to their students too.

RELATED: Who Is Liable If Your Student Gets COVID-19 on Campus?

Hybrid Education

This change isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Colleges and universities are going to take advantage of the online environment to educate. It will, in the long run, save them money (if they pass those savings on to you remains to be seen). How well your student learns in an online environment, and how it can be improved, needs to be considered and researched.

College during coronavirus is going to be the new normal, for now. How you react and prepare for their year is important to their experience. Remember, different doesn’t necessarily mean a “worse” experience. Your preparation and communication about it now will make all the difference to your freshman.


Visit our special coronavirus article page.

SCV is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

CampusChat keeps parents, students, educators and counselors informed of college news, tips, and resources -- all delivered directly to your inbox.

Your contact info will not be shared without your permission. We don't like spam and assume you don't either.

You have Successfully Subscribed!