With over half of Americans at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, colleges around the nation are preparing to reopen their doors to students. While some have already been living on campus for the last year, others delayed their return to in-person classes until the pandemic eased up.
Now that it’s becoming safe to live in close quarters with others, it’s a good idea to begin thinking about how you can protect yourself. While being fully vaccinated is the best way to prevent COVID-19, there are additional steps you can take to prevent not only the virus but other common illnesses as well.
Read on to learn five ways you can stay safe on campus in the COVID era.
Stick to a Schedule
If there’s one word to describe the start of the term, it’s exhausting. Between classes, homework and hanging out with friends, you’ll likely find yourself going to bed whenever you get a chance and paying little attention to when – and what – you eat.
Avoid falling into an erratic pattern at all costs. It’s hard to shake, and it’ll only make your life harder. Set a bedtime for weekdays and weekends, and make sure that you prioritize eating three healthy meals a day. Don’t overload on caffeine as energy drinks and coffee aren’t substitutes for sleep. Get at least 7 hours of rest each night to help your body repair, recover and restore.
Look Up Your Healthcare Options
Do you have access to medical care on campus, or do you need to find your own doctor? Did you know that you can also access doctors virtually from the comfort of your own room? Telehealth for college students puts you in direct contact with medical and mental health professionals at any time. You can review this guide on health and wellness for college students to know the risk factors and warning signs of common problems students face.
When you have your healthcare figured out, you won’t have to turn to the internet for self-diagnoses or potentially miss a bigger threat. Peace of mind is one of the most valuable tools you have in your self-care. Telehealth services are 100-percent confidential, too, so you can trust the professionals you’re talking to with anything you’re dealing with.
Stick to Small Groups
Although you may be eager to get back to the way things were before COVID-19, it’s safer to stick with small groups of people who you know are fully vaccinated or get regularly tested. Limiting opportunities for exposure is key to staying safe. Keep a close group of friends, or opt for one-on-one coffee shop talks over large parties and events. Social distancing is also still useful, even if your school doesn’t require it. Take a seat with an empty one next to it in class, or eat lunch outside on a bench instead of a crowded dining hall.
Keep Your Personal Items Organized
Avoid sharing anything with your roommate and friends, including food, drinks and dining utensils. Clothes and toiletries should also be kept in your own area to avoid cross-contamination with anyone else’s. Even your laptop and cellphone should be stored in your area. Disinfect them regularly with sanitizing wipes, especially if you take them to class.