Protecting College Students During In-Person Learning

Universities are a place for education, career development, and expanding one’s worldview, not a place for COVID-19. As many students return to campus for the Spring 2021 semester, how can we mitigate risks and keep students healthy?

Reports from the CDC show that young, healthy people are just as susceptible to COVID-19. Young adults can spread the virus without showing symptoms. This overwhelms hospitals and endangers more immunocompromised people. As college students continue to frequent bars and parties, the virus rages.


Talk to your student

    Make sure your student understands the risks of attending in-person lectures.     Explain how, even if they are not impacted by the virus, it can still lead to deadly     consequences for others.

    The numbers of infection and death are hard to comprehend. Instead, make sure     students are getting the big picture through stories about how people are     personally impacted. Be sure your student throughly understands the risks for     themselves and others of on-campus learning during a pandemic.

Develop a plan

    Families need to develop a plan in case someone contracts the virus. If a student     falls ill, will they be allowed to come home? Or should they quarantine in a dorm?     Check your university policy on whether or not infected people are allowed to     stay on campus, if they will be housed in a separate place, etc. Will you allow     your healthy student to visit home at all during their stay? With CDC guidelines     suggesting not to travel, students should remain on campus as much as possible.


Enforce social distancing

    If a university decides to permit in-person learning and dorm availability, they     need to heed precautions regarding social distancing. Every possible effort     should be made to enforce local guidelines. Students should all be wearing     protective PPE during class. Dorm visitations should be extremely monitored     and limited.

Develop a plan

    All universities need to develop a plan with the help of local authorities. A     seemingly endless amount of considerations need to be made, including     screening/testing students, offering care for sick students, contract tracing     protocols, etc. These issues vary widely based on geographical location, student     population size, and local guidelines, so be sure to work with local health experts     to determine how to proceed with the Spring 2021 semester.

Offer comprehensive testing and monitoring

    One of the most important protocols a university can have is the monitoring and     testing for positive cases. Approaches vary widely, as some universities have     been testing all students twice per week, and some don’t test at all.

    Surveillance testing is becoming more available, though many smaller     institutions are unable to front the costs. Surveillance testing involves selecting     random, healthy volunteers to test samples of the population in a way that     allows experts to make inferences as efficiently as possible.

    Whether the university itself provides testing or it is outsourced, be sure     students are aware that testing is available and easily accessible.

Support students

    College is notoriously stressful. Throw a pandemic into the mix, and student     care becomes a top priority. Be sure to provide PPE to those without and offer     mental care to those who need it. Don’t just wait for those who reach out, but be     sure to actively seek out students who may need assistance.

Many college students understand the dangers of COVID-19. But as young people have had their lives turned upside down, many lose hope and begin to lose sight of social-distancing as we wait for the vaccine to become widely available.

Experts advise that students stay home and proceed with e-learning as much as possible. But if in-person education is a must, check out protective PPE from Global Sourcing. We're committed to protecting students and university staff with authentic, FDA-approved N95 respirators, face masks, surgical gloves, hand sanitizers, surgical gowns, and countless other PPE supplies needed to keep your school safe.

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