COVID-19 and college: Your questions answered

COVID-19 and college: Your questions answered

Sending your child off to school under normal circumstances can be stressful and worrying. Doing it in a pandemic is likely unimaginable to some and a reality for many others.

A panel of top pediatric experts recently answered questions about this during a Facebook Live event. The full video is below, and here is what they had to say about college.

I’m worried my child isn’t taking the necessary safety precautions to avoid getting sick. What advice can I give them to stay safe?

Remind your college student they are in control of their own safety measures, and reinforce the need for proper handwashing, social distancing and masking.

This can certainly be difficult for college students as college is such a critical time for socialization. Making friends and building bonds are a large part of the experience, but that doesn’t mean they can’t stay safe while doing so. These things can still happen – they just have to look different during this time.

What if I do find out my child is not being safe in social settings?

Instead of expressing your frustration to your child, have a productive conversation with them about their actions. Explain why you are concerned, and reiterate that the guidance being provided by experts is evidence based. Ask your child why they are currently making the decisions they are, and remind them of the risks associated with congregating in groups or attending social gatherings. Trying to understand where they are coming from is critical. Work together to come up with safe alternatives to traditional activities.

What should I do if my child tests positive for COVID-19 while away at school?

It depends on the situation. Ultimately, if it’s safe for your child to remain at school, and if there is someone who will be overseeing their health, have them stay on campus. Make sure your child is aware of the resources available for them at school for both emotional and physical support. There are resources to help them virtually and in person.

Some college students should not stay at school, especially those with underlying health conditions that need close monitoring and may require hospitalization, such as asthma.

Children may want to come home to be close with family and feel cared for. Others may want to stay at school. If that is the case, validate their feelings. As parents, it’s easy to want to jump into “go mode” and bring them home, but instead, have a conversation with your child and try to understand why they feel comfortable staying at school.

If your child is going to come home, consider their mode of transportation in doing so. Would they be using public transportation to get home, potentially exposing other people? Who would pick them up? No matter where they are, it’s critical to mitigate transmission as much as possible.

These answers came during Facebook Live event when top doctors gave parents advice and took their questions as they continue to navigate life during the pandemic. The full video is below.

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.