Returning to Your College Campus During COVID-19

Posted Friday, Jul 30, 2021

Colleges and universities are getting ready to have students back on campus for Fall 2021. Some are requiring that all students be vaccinated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines—Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnsonbefore returning to campus. To see if your school is on that list, click here.

Others are recommending, but not requiring, that students get fully vaccinated before the fall semester starts. Most campuses will have a mixture of students who are fully vaccinated and those who are not. If you do not know the COVID-19 policies at the college you are attending, check your college’s COVID-19 webpage regularly. Keep in mind that COVID-19 policies are likely to change often.

With COVID-19 numbers rising again in all 50 states, it is important to follow the recommended guidelines of your school when returning. Basic health and safety protocols have been put in place to keep you safe and well.

Different institutes of higher learning may have different COVID-19 regulations depending on whether you are fully vaccinated or unvaccinated. It’s important to know what your school’s regulations are and how they pertain to you. To help you figure this out, below are some questions for you to consider before returning to campus.

If I am fully vaccinated:

  • Do I need to quarantine or get a COVID-19 test prior to enrolling if I drove with others to campus?
  • Do I need to quarantine or get a COVID-19 test prior to enrolling if I flew on an airplane to campus?
  • Do I need to wear a mask indoors and/or outdoors?
  • Do I need to maintain social distancing when I am in a crowded area?
  • Do I still need to wash my hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer often?
  • Should I still avoid touching my eyes, nose and mouth?
  • If I am exposed to someone with COVID-19:
    • And don’t have symptoms, do I need to be tested or quarantined?
    • And have symptoms, where can I be tested?
  • If I don’t know if I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, but I am sick and think I might have it, should I get tested and quarantine?
  • If I need to be tested, will there be a charge?
  • Will my school notify me if someone has tested positive for COVID-19?
  • If I ever test positive to COVID-19 and have to quarantine”
    • Do I have to tell someone at my college who I have been in contact with recently?
    • Do I quarantine on campus or away from campus?
    • While in quarantine, will I be able to attend classes remotely?
    • Will I fail the semester if I’m too sick to attend classes?

If I am not fully vaccinated:

  • If I am returning to campus, will I need to have a COVID-19 test? If so, how far in advance will I need to be tested?
  • If I am tested and my results are negative, do I still need to quarantine before returning to campus? If so, how long do I need to quarantine for before I can return to campus?
  • Will I have to be tested regularly during the academic year?
    • If so, will I have to pay extra for it?
  • Will I be required to wear a mask at all times when I am on campus?
    • When I attend classes and other indoor activities?
    • When I am outside but still on campus?
  • Will I be required to maintain social distancing both inside and outside?
  • Do I still need to wash my hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer often?
  • Should I still avoid touching my eyes, nose and mouth?
  • If I am exposed to someone with COVID-19,
    • And don’t have symptoms, do I need to be tested or quarantine? If I need to be tested, where do I go?
    • And have symptoms, where can I be tested?
  • If I don’t know if I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, but I am sick and think I might have it, should I get tested and quarantine?
  • If I ever test positive to COVID-19 and have to quarantine:
    • Do I have to tell someone at my college who I have been around?
    • Do I quarantine on campus or away from campus?
    • While in quarantine, will I be able to attend classes remotely?
    • Will I fail the semester if I’m too sick to attend classes?

In summary, it’s exciting to be getting back to campus, seeing your friends and attending classes. But in doing so, it’s also important to be diligent about protecting yourself and others around you from COVID-19 by knowing and following the rules and regulations of your college or university. In addition, you should always wash your hands for 20 seconds. Have a great semester and stay safe.