COVID-19: 5 Things That Will Be Different on Campus This Year

diifferent on campus
The elbow bump. It’s a thing!

As freshmen and upperclassmen start thinking (dreaming?) about heading to college this fall. They’re going to be packing more supplies than usual, however. What will be different on campus this year, due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic? Maybe more elbow bumps than hugs! Here are five things you may not have thought of. Make some preparations if possible!

Share In the Cleaning Responsibilities

Universities employ a huge number of housekeeping and janitorial staff. They, however, cannot keep up with the level of cleaning now imperative with hundreds, if not thousands, of students on campus. This situation requires everyone to do more than their fair share, and pitch in and help. Carry wipes if possible, or spray hand sanitizer. Wipe down desks or tables after you’ve been sitting there. Give elevator buttons a wipe down. If everyone does small acts like this, the risk of infection will stay low. It’s a community effort to stay healthy! And of course, if masks are mandated, wear them.

Limited Visitation in Dorms

Residence halls are a big worry for families and administrators alike. With so many people living and working in one place, keeping social distancing up can and will be difficult. Some colleges are cutting down on the traffic through residence halls by limiting or prohibiting any non-residents inside. That includes you, parents! Others are also slashing roommate or suitemate numbers. Always wanted a single room to yourself? This is going to be the year that could happen. Make sure you know, understand, and follow the rules for your residence hall. Read all the contracts carefully before you take those keys at move-in!

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

Dining Hall Changes

Another huge change will be the foot traffic in dining halls. Hundreds of students piling in to get lunch all at once will be a social distancing nightmare! To counteract that number, some larger universities are limiting or restricting off-campus students from buying meal plans. If you’re living in an apartment but banking on eating on-campus, double check dining information. You may be eating in more restaurants than planned, which will also change your budgeting needs.

If you’re an on-campus student, prepare for more lines, more online ordering, and a reduction in choices. Most self-serve items like salad bars or the ever-popular cereal bar may not be available. Consider keeping more items in your room to grab easily and avoid the crowds.

Online… Even On-Campus

While you may be “back at school,” don’t be surprised if more professors, counselors, and services remain remote or online. Zoom isn’t going anywhere. Universities are capping in-person classes — the average is anything over 50 students will be online. Even campus health services will likely be remote. They might be a building away, but you’ll be talking to them online. So invest in some good earphones with a great microphone, and good desk furniture. And you know, we love a second screen for your laptop. Your dorm or apartment bedroom should be well equipped for online learning.

RELATED: Coronavirus Disease Tracker

Prepare to Go Home If Necessary

Ask any student who had their spring 2020 semester cut short: You may be told to basically, well, get out. Most universities are planning on going “online only” and closing dorms at Thanksgiving. However, if there’s a significant second wave of infections before that, you may be asked to leave ASAP.

Honestly, we just don’t know what’s going to happen. So be aware, and smart about what you’d need to take and what could wait until a later “move-out” date. Tentatively plan travel arrangements. Do you fly to your college? Figure out how you’d do that, even if just thinking through the steps. Parents, be aware that they might be moving back in, again.

We want all college students to have a healthy and productive 2020-2021 school year. It’s not going to be a “normal” year, but then, that normal may well be behind us for a while. Be safe and stay smart about your well-being. Things may be different on campus, but with preparation, we know you’ll succeed.

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!