Tips for Returning to College During COVID-19

Posted Thursday, Aug 20, 2020

Students are beginning to start or return to college. What this looks like differs for every institution of higher learning. Below are some tips for reducing exposure if you are returning to campus, as well as tips for working with disability services to get accommodations as an adult with congenital heart disease (ACHD).

General Campus Tips During COVID-19:

  1. When you go out, take a mask (face covering), disinfectant wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer with you.
  2. Avoid large groups of people
  3. Wear a face covering when out in groups or going to class that covers your nose, mouth and chin.
  4. Maintain social (physical) distancing of at least 6 feet.
  5. Wash your face coverings in the hottest water possible for the fabric.
  6. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before and after touching any object and/or putting on and removing your mask.

Living Arrangements During COVID-19:

  1. When possible, ask for a single dorm room or if you live in an apartment, request a single bedroom.
  2. Consider using a personal tote to keep all your personal belongings separate. Avoid sharing with dorm mates or roommates but if you must, disinfect all surfaces, including doorknobs, light switches, drawer and utility handles before and after using.
  3. Disinfect bathroom counter, sink, faucets, and toilet handles before use.
  4. Keep your toothbrush upright and in a separate container from others if using a shared bathroom.
  5. When using laundry room, clean and disinfect tops, front and buttons and other items that may have been touched on washer and dryer.

Dining During COVID-19:

  1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol-based sanitizer before and after eating.
  2. Do not share food, drink or utensils.
  3. Eat grab and go (prepared) food items when you can.
  4. Do not eat at buffets or self-serve stations.
  5. Only use disposable utensils.
  6. Eat outside when possible and if using shared tables and chairs, disinfect before eating.
  7. If you must eat inside a dining hall, disinfect tables and chairs before using them.
  8. When eating, always maintain at least 6 feet between you and the person sitting next to or across from you.
  9. Wash hands before and after touching public surfaces with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

 Attending Classes During COVID-19:

  1. Take online classes when possible.
  2. If your classes are meeting in person, sign up for small sections.
  3. Wipe down your classroom desk when taking in-person classes.
  4. Keep at least 1-2 seats between you and another classmate.
  5. Always wear a mask in class, covering your mouth, nose and chin.

If You Become Sick While on Campus During COVID-19:

  1. Know the symptoms and signs of COVID-19.
  2. If you are sick, get tested for COVID-19. If you test positive or been possibly exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home and self-isolate.
  3. Cover coughs or sneezes with tissues or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in a garbage can. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer afterwards.

Tips for Applying for Disability Services for Students with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD):

  1. Every institution of higher learning by law has to offer disability services to their students. The office of disability services can help you with things like getting more time for tests, getting a single dorm room or, if your dorm doesn’t have elevators, getting a room on a lower floor. During COVID-19, they might be able to help you get an accommodation for online or recorded classes if your school has reopened to in-person classes.
  2. Each student should make a list of accommodations he/she will need for either in-person and/or online classes and discuss them with the disability office. If you are a returning student, you may need different accommodations than you had in an actual classroom before COVID-19.
  3. If you are a new student (freshman or upperclassman), you should make an appointment as soon as possible to apply for disability services. It’s important to maintain open communication with both disability services and your professors so they can work with you.
  4. Each student's eligibility for accommodations, whether in the classroom on in online classes, is determined based on each individual student’s disability and the class they are taking.
  5. You should check your college’s website or call them to find out their process for requesting accommodations as early as you can.