COVID-19 and Colleges: FAQs

COVID-19 and colleges

Finally, colleges and universities have started sharing their plans for fall 2020. SCV is distilling some of the basic strategies into an FAQ. Bookmark this article as a handy reference point to learn as much as you can about COVID-19 and the reopening of colleges.

We will add more information as plans evolve!


Wait! We’re Starting EARLY? Why?

Yep, a lot of colleges are moving UP their start dates. The average early-start schools are jumping back from August 24 to August 10.

What does this mean for you now? Get those calendars updated. Parents who are helping with move-in: Let your employers know now! Students, if you’re working this summer, tell your employers now too.

Buy your XL sheets ahead of time and cut down on the “last minute” run to the school’s big box store with ALL of the OTHER PEOPLE.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the state’s policies. University policy is set off of those recommendations, along with other expert advice. If you’re traveling to a different state for college, those policies might be different. Check online and read the emails they send carefully to make sure you know what’s going on.

What Is the Infection Rate, etc. of My College Town?

Use the Google COVID-19 resources to look up current confirmed cases, recoveries, and deaths in any given location.

Why Are We Moving to An Online Semester After Thanksgiving? Why the Shortened In-Person Semester?

Infectious disease experts are forecasting waves of coronavirus outbreaks. One of the most prevalent models seems to fall mid-November, when travel in the U.S. for holidays, etc., ramps up. To keep those cases from perhaps returning back to campus, many colleges and universities are moving to “online instruction only” after the Thanksgiving holidays. That means moving back to online classes only for the last few days of classes and through exams.

Planning schedules in this way also gives instructors and professors time to tailor their material and exams to this model. The more time to prepare, the better!

RELATED: Dorm Needs 2020: Masks, Hand Sanitizer, Cleaning Supplies

How Is Move-In Going to Work?

Many schools are providing MORE days for move-in, which means it won’t be quite as crowded all at once. Housing offices should be communicating the how’s and when’s of move-in directly, as it will probably not be a free-for-all like in years past.

Where Do I Have to Wear A Mask? And What Do I Need to Clean?

Most university guidelines are stating that students will be required to wear a mask for anything “in-person.” That means, anything where you will be close to others: both inside classrooms and in outdoor spaces, in some cases. Stock up on masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes. Many schools have stated they’ll have sanitizer locations around campus, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Additionally, some schools are asking for students to help carry the load of keeping surfaces clean. If you sit at a desk, wipe it down when you leave.

Check carefully with your college or university on their recommendations and requirements.

What About Residence and Dining Halls? How Can We Social Distance There?

More than likely, schools will limit the number of people in halls and in dining halls, much like restaurants are doing. Take advantage of online ordering systems to pick up food, where you can, and cashless payment points. Also, buffets and self-service areas will more than likely be closed, so plan meals and times accordingly.

coronavirus college student

Why Are They Asking Us Not to Travel?

Most colleges and universities are asking students not to travel once they arrive on campus. Once you’re in “the bubble,” stay there — even for weekends. Some schools are cancelling their breaks altogether to keep students in one place. Limiting your travel also limits your exposure to other at-risk or infected populations.

What About Football?!

Listen, we love college football too. But we need to keep our eyes on the academic side of things for now. Universities are working hard to make their campuses as safe as possible to give you the on-campus experience.
Also, at this writing, the NCAA hasn’t released recommendations or guidelines for universities. We will update this FAQ when schools do start making sports plans.
But… we’re betting you need to stock up on masks and hand sanitizer in those clear plastic backpacks!

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Weighs In On Reopening Colleges

Shoot, I can’t find my mask. Can I borrow my friend’s/roommates’/significant other’s mask?

In a word, no.

Consider masks to be like underpants. Unless they are perfectly clean, right out of the package or wash, they are off limits.

What Happens If I Just Don’t Think I Can Go Back to Campus?

That’s ok too. This is a weird time, and anyone who says they have all the answers is pulling your leg. Many schools are creating specific remote opportunities for students who have medical issues or fears of transmission. Ask about them.

If you don’t think that’s for you either, contact your advisor or your registrar about taking a semester off, or a gap year, or even withdrawing. You’re under no obligation to do anything that makes you feel unsafe!

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Take care of yourself, and get help if needed.

What Happens If I Get Sick With COVID-19 On Campus?

If you get ill on campus with the coronavirus, expect to be quarantined in some way. Colleges and universities are putting different plans in place, depending on local infection rates and healthcare variables. Because, let’s face it, it’s going to happen. Read your university materials in great detail to make sure you understand what they’re preparing.

The best thing to do is remain vigilant with hand-washing, mask wearing, and cleaning routines.


CDC Guidelines and Printouts for COVID-19 and Colleges


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