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Attending college during a pandemic has a number of challenges that students must face. Some of these challenges are the standard ones that almost everyone shares, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
Others are specific to students, such as living in the close quarters of a dorm room with roommates during the pandemic and campuses closing due to outbreaks. Navigate the pandemic successfully with information, and get assistance as needed from support systems on campus and elsewhere.
Everyone can take basic steps to protect themselves from COVID-19. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom, before preparing or eating food, when you return to your room or apartment, and after you cough or sneeze.
If you can’t get to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Wear a face mask with multiple layers to stop transmission of respiratory droplets from your nose and mouth. Wash a mask after wearing it for a day.
When you live in shared housing with roommates, you won’t be able to social distance from those you live with. However, you should maintain a six-foot distance from anyone you don’t live with. Clean surfaces every day with soap and water, and then use a disinfecting product according to product instructions.
- COVID-19: Safety Tips for You
- Tips to Prevent Coronavirus Transmission
- Coronavirus Disease: When and How to Use Masks
- Coronavirus Protection
- Prevention, Symptoms, Treatment and Transmission – COVID-19 Outbreak
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention: 12 Tips and Strategies
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Home Care & Precautions
- How Can I Protect Myself (and Others) from the New Coronavirus and COVID-19?
- Protect Yourself
Mental and Physical Health
Your mental health can be at risk due to the pandemic. It’s common to feel anxious, sad, angry, and frustrated. If you feel any of these emotions, find someone you can talk to. A friend, parent, or counselor can listen and help so you don’t feel alone and isolated.
Staying connected with others may be more challenging with COVID restrictions, but you can still call and video chat with friends and family. Make sure to keep a regular routine during the pandemic, completing your coursework, eating, sleeping, and exercising. Try to get fresh air and sunshine every day. If you start to feel overwhelmed, reach out to someone to get the support you need.
- COVID-19 and Your Mental Health
- Mental Health and Coping During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
- Mental Health and Covid-19
- Taking Your ‘Mental Health’ Temperature During COVID-19
- Emotional Well-Being and Coping During COVID-19
If You Get Sick
Watch for COVID symptoms. Young people often have few and very mild symptoms. You may notice reduced smell and taste early on, which may transition to typical virus symptoms such as fever, a dry cough, fatigue, and sore throat.
If you start feeling any of these symptoms, contact your campus testing facility to get a COVID test. If you test positive, campus officials will give you all the information you need to isolate while your infection is contagious. Current protocols require people to quarantine for 10 to 14 days from the first symptoms, and your campus will have a system in place to make sure you have what you need during your quarantine period.
- Quarantine Guidance for COVID-19 (PDF)
- Coronavirus & Self-Quarantining: Who Should Do It and How to Do It
- COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Information
- What to do if You Are On Quarantine or Isolation for COVID-19 (PDF)
- COVID-19 FAQs: If You or Someone in Your Family is Sick With COVID-19
- What to do if You Have Confirmed or Suspected Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)?
Unfortunately, many undergraduate college students weren’t eligible for stimulus checks, because they are considered dependents of their parents. Any students who are over age 24 should be eligible for stimulus checks. If you have been laid off because of the pandemic, you may be able to claim unemployment benefits.
These benefits vary by state. If you had a federal work-study job that closed, you may be able to receive payments for the remainder of the work period you weren’t able to complete. If your campus closes housing due to the pandemic, many schools are refunding some of these non-tuition costs to students.
The refund might be a credit to use for future costs or it could be a direct refund. Many colleges have emergency funds available for students who experience unexpected housing or school expenses, too.
- Emergency Rental Assistance Program
- Help for Homeowners and Renters
- Where to Get Financial Assistance During the COVID-19 Crisis