College student coming home? What to know and do – Harvard Health Blog

Due to the pandemic, many students are returning home to complete the semester, either because of campus cases or because colleges are sending everyone home for Thanksgiving and not bringing them back until the next term. .

This situation requires thought and planning to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Here are some things families should think about.

Will your student take the COVID-19 virus home with him?

Many colleges have experienced epidemics and infections can be asymptomatic. How you deal with returning students to your home depends on the situation at their school, the possibility of exposure, and how often they have been tested. If the cases are low and they are tested regularly (at least once a week), the risk is much less than if the number of cases is high and the tests sporadic. Make sure you know the situation at school, and before you go home, your student should isolate themselves as much as possible for as long as possible (two weeks would be ideal, but it might not be. realistic), and get tested in a few days. of the planned return home. If they are showing symptoms of COVID-19, they should contact student health services and get tested before planning to return home.

How safe is their return home?

The best way for them to get home is to take a day trip by car (theirs or yours), with minimal stops and no one other than them or you in the car. If they have to fly or if the trip involves overnight stays, that increases the risk.

What state requirements will they have to meet?

Many states require quarantine on arrival; if you don’t know your state’s requirements, find out.

And the tests?

Keep in mind that testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 doesn’t really tell you how you are right now. The incubation period for COVID-19 is two to 14 days. If you take a test a few days after exposure (which you might not even know you had), you might test negative when you actually have an infection brewing. A negative test in someone who has been isolated for a few weeks is very different from a negative test in someone who has been with other people. To learn more about testing – for example if a PCR test is more reliable than an antigen test (it is) – click here.

Better not to get too close at first

Because of all of this, as tempting as it may be to give your student a hug when they get home, it’s probably best to keep some distance for a bit. How far away you need to be and for how long, and if / when you should get them tested, will depend on the symptoms, possible exposures at school, when and when they were tested and how they went home. Consult your doctor for advice.

House rules in a pandemic: it’s a two-way street

You will need the house rules for safety. It’s understandable that your student wants to visit friends when they get home, but this year everything is different. Your state’s rules – like a quarantine period – will obviously come into play here. But even after the necessary quarantine, your teenager needs to stay safe so everyone is safe. It means wearing masks and socializing with friends. There may be friends and family you welcome into your “bubble” if you know enough about how they live their daily lives, but it is a decision you must make. family. This is not a decision teens can make on their own – because during the pandemic, our decisions can be fatal to others.

You need to be understanding and respectful if your student is still taking classes. This means making sure they have a private workspace, staying quiet during their distance learning lessons, and tailoring your expectations of them to accommodate the schedule and requirements of those lessons.

Your student should also be understanding and respectful of your daily life and your needs. Staying up late so that others who need to work or go to school in the morning are awake is not acceptable, for example. And students need to be mindful of clutter, laundry, housework, food supplies, and everything related to running a household. Having a discussion about these house rules is also a good idea.

It is a difficult time for everyone. Leaving school can be disappointing, and families are stressed in many ways. So find ways to cut everyone down – and have fun. We’ll get there, but we’ll all be better off if we’re kind to each other and to ourselves.

Our sincere thanks to
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Jothi Venkat

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