Published on August 20, 2021

Vaccinated student with books

As colleges prepare to bring students back to campus, each school is making its own decisions about how to keep students safe. Some colleges and universities are implementing very few safety measures whereas others are continuing to implement all safety measures that will help keep their students safe.

Returning to College Safely During COVID-19

If your child will be returning to campus this fall, prepare them by sending items to help keep them healthy throughout the semester. Amra Nasir, MD, Medical Director with Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care discusses what students need to take to school with them when they return in August.

What to Bring

This Fall will be the first time since most schools have had a full campus and offered in-person classes in over a year. While some precautions may be taken like plexiglass screens and socially distanced desks in classrooms, other precautions may be limited. “As your student packs to return to campus, not only pack the essential items like their bedding, toiletries and clothes, but also face masks and an ample amount of cleaning supplies,” says Dr. Nasir. Add these items to your child’s packing list:

  • Disposable and reusable masks
  • Digital oral thermometer
  • Multivitamins that include zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C
  • Acetaminophen
  • Air purifier
  • Antibacterial hand soap
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Bottles of hand sanitizer
  • Tissues

Discuss Expectations

While most universities are requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccine before they return to campus, it is possible that your child could be exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19. “Talk about what they should do if they get sick or be exposed. Discuss the school’s policies and if you would like them to come home or stay at school to recover,” explains Dr. Nasir.

Some universities may have a designated place to send students who have been infected or exposed to keep the rest of the student body safe. Many schools are also asking students to continue monitoring their symptoms daily. Check with your child’s university to confirm what their requirements are for returning to and living on campus.

Staying Healthy

Discuss with your child the risk level of different activities they may participate in. Remember that outside activities in small groups are best. While your child’s college or university might be taking the appropriate precautions, it’s possible your child will be presented with activities off-campus that aren’t taking the same safety measures. Remind and encourage them to:

  • Wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often
  • Avoid large gatherings
  • Use their elbow to cover coughs and sneezes
  • Routinely disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Get vaccinated for COVID-19 if they haven’t yet

While campus may look a little different this year, these changes are helping to bring students back into the classroom for in-person instruction. Talk with your child before they return to school to ensure they are ready and prepared.

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