“My teen is a freshman in college and it wasn’t supposed to be like this.”
We know that there are issues around Covid-19 that are far more important than whether teens get to experience freshman year in college, but that doesn’t mean that as parents we aren’t worried about many of the unknowns to come.
First time college parents usually have a touch of worry, but this year is different. We know our college students need to move forward with their lives, they need to prepare for careers and adult life, no one wants to hold them back. We hope that as the summer goes on there will be more answers.
And yet…here are some of the many questions parents have for 2020.
- Families who live in hot spots, or areas with an elevated amount of infection, might need to quarantine for 14 days in the low risk area before dropping off their teen at the dorm. Just how is a parent, or teen, supposed to do this? Fourteen days in a hotel? How is this even possible?
- What about the reverse? Your family lives in a safer area and yet their college is in a riskier location, how do you keep yourself safe for the move in? How do you go back home and not go to work for 2 weeks as you now need to quarantine?
- Your teen and their friends, with the best of intentions, will get more and more relaxed about social distancing until there is a major outbreak on campus. Then what?
- Once there is an outbreak, will the Student Health Service be able to take care of an increasing number of students who won’t be in a position to travel home? What if they need more intense medical care and we cannot travel to be there?
- Your teen has been assigned to a bathroom shared with 18 other students. Even at half occupancy that is still a lot of germ sharing every day.
- Your teen has selected a major, like musical theatre, that requires in-person classes and collaborating with classmates from all over the US, how can they maintain their distance while they learn their craft?
- Their on-campus job, which is necessary to pay for their education, exposes them to the public every day.
- Given the constraints on social, athletic and club activities, the number of large lecture classes that will need to be held virtually, is it even worth the expense of sending them to campus? Will this all have been a huge waste of money? Will they end up coming home anyway?
- What about teens with preexisting conditions, can a campus setting keep them safe?
- What if our teens are exposed to the virus right before Thanksgiving, will they even be able to come home and will it be safe for our families to have them back home?
- Will any study abroad programs be possible? In low infection countries?
- Is our worrying making our students anxious? Are we making things worse?
- Will everyone on campus be required to wear masks and what happens to those who choose not to use them?
- Is living in a single dorm room, having classes online, no athletic events, grab and go food, few clubs and the ever present risk of a lock-down even college?
These questions are merely the tip of the worry iceberg. And while uncertainty, change and flexibility are the order of these days, we know that if we are patient and careful, we will get to the other side of this.
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