When the pandemic happened, colleges and universities quickly responded by shifting to online learning. During this time, students assumed that online learning would last for only a few months and that classes would return to in-person learning. But as the virus continues to spread across the globe, the reality has become uncertain, making people wonder if academic institutions can sustain online learning.

Fast forward to 2021, and many schools have opened their doors to students and teachers again. To ensure students’ safe return, schools are enforcing safety protocols, such as contact tracing, isolation, and comprehensive testing. They also require students and teachers to wear masks at all times and maintain social distance.

Returning to school is even more challenging for working students. Unlike regular students, they have to divide their time between work and school to make both ends meet. Those who work in service-based jobs have higher chances of getting infected as they expose themselves to COVID-19 every day. Those who can’t find jobs as working students depend on money sent online by their families to cover their daily expenses.

Now that students can now return to their physical classrooms, there are plenty of things they should consider to be safe. If you’re going out of state to study, it’s crucial to have a concrete plan on how to survive campus life during a pandemic. With that in mind, here are ways to prepare yourself for on-campus living.

Consider safety issues

Before traveling to the campus, identify the safety requirements of the university and state you’re living in. Some will require wearing a face mask on campus, while others won’t. For extra measure, bring plenty of extra masks and hand sanitizer, which you can use when attending classes, shopping for groceries, and meeting people.

You should also consider the safest transportation methods that can help you avoid the crowd. It’s also important to be aware of the right safety practices when going outdoors and living in a dormitory or apartment.

Prepare for medical needs

When students have to live in close quarters, they have higher chances of acquiring contagious illnesses such as colds, flu, and cough. Before this happens, locate nearby healthcare facilities within the area. Know where you can access immediate care and get COVID-19 testing.

If you have an allergy or a chronic illness, look for a nearby doctor for urgent consultations. You may also consider seeking mental wellness services in case you need support. With the high risk of COVID-19, you should also make sure if you’re on track with your immunizations to stay protected from potential health risks.

Discuss logistic concerns

Living outside your hometown can be overwhelming. To quickly adjust to campus life, you have to determine how you can access your basic needs, such as groceries, food deliveries, mail, and other essentials.

Look for food establishments and local restaurants and know their store hours and safety policies. For the groceries, find an efficient way to obtain your necessities. You may consider using online services instead of going out to shop. If you’re expecting mail and care packages regularly, determine how best to handle them and how long it will take to receive the items. A great tip is to plan what to pack ahead of time to reduce the need for shipping or purchasing items once you’re on campus.

Talk about communication and entertainment

Being away from your family can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. To avoid this, you need to identify which activities will keep you occupied and entertained. You can also check the university website to find academic organizations or extracurricular activities offered within the campus. Make sure to acquaint yourself with the members to avoid getting left out during your first week.

You may also discuss how you will communicate with the family, whether through text, call, online chat, or videoconferencing.

Plan for unexpected situations

It’s also necessary to consider unexpected situations when you’re away from home. If the school suddenly requires students to move out from the campus because of an outbreak, know what you need to pack during emergency cases.

You can check nearby accommodations if you need to be away from the university. A local storage service will also be helpful if you need to leave your belongings in a safe place before you get home.

While living away from your family can be difficult during a pandemic, being optimistic can help you adjust to the situation pretty quickly. Of course, campus administrators will ensure that you’ll be in safe hands during your stay. The key is to keep your communication lines open in case you need support or a company.

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