Colleges are struggling with how to cope with the outbreak of Covid-19. It’s a tricky balancing act to continue educating our kids while keeping them and the whole community safe.
Today, Princeton became one of the first universities to encourage students not to return after Spring Break. President Eisgruber told the Princeton community that in order to help mitigate the growing risk of transmission of Covid-19,
…we will virtualize any activities, such as lectures, seminars, and precepts, that can be put online. We will continue to support, where possible and subject to appropriate restrictions, research, educational, and campus life activities that require physical presence. These measures are being taken to help ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, and to decrease any potential impacts on the larger community…we also recognize that these are extraordinary times that require exceptional measures to deal with a health risk that affects us all.
For that reason, we are creating, supporting, and mandating alternative ways of meeting our academic and other programmatic requirements in ways consistent with social distancing. This will include a mandatory, temporary move for all lectures, seminars, and precepts to virtual instruction…We encourage students to consider staying home after Spring Break. If students choose to remain home after Spring Break, we will make sure that they are able to meet their academic requirements remotely.
While, of course, this is not the way any of us wanted or expected things to go, what can we do to mitigate the situation for ourselves and our kids?
Some tips as your teens come home for Spring Break
Here are a few reminders and ideas:
Clean Dorm Room. If your college kids are coming home for Spring Break, there is at least the possibility that they will be away from school for longer than two weeks. Given that, it’s best for them to clean a bit before they leave. Remind your kids to take out their garbage and clean out their fridge. They won’t like what they return to, if they don’t.
Test Home WiFi. Your student may be learning online for a period of time. They will absolutely need reliable WiFi. Test your home WiFi and make sure it works and has the requisite bandwidth for virtual learning.
Online Study Group. Arrange with a group of friends to meet virtually to go over school work. A group will help keep you on task and make you answerable.
Academic Material. Make sure you brings home all the textbooks you might need and that you have the passwords for any school logins and programs you need. Also, be certain that you have contact information for all of your teaching assistants and/or professors, and academic advisors.
Clothing. We are headed into spring, and warmer weather. If you don’t have the appropriate clothing at home, pack a few things.
Sports/Other Clubs. Make sure that all of the groups to which you belong have your contact information. In case there are virtual meetings or get-togethers while you are all away, you’ll want to continue participating virtually as much as possible.
Stir-Crazy. Mom and Dad-Make a list of all the spring cleaning and home improvement projects that need to get done. No one needs to be bored. There’s plenty to do.
Use Your Time Productively. Kids-this is a great time to make sure your resume is in tip top shape and to shore up summer jobs, or internships.
Students may be disappointed, especially seniors who were so looking forward to their spring flings and pre-commencement activities. Remind them that they and you will celebrate when the environment permits.
Things happen and it can be hugely inconvenient or disappointing but the only thing we can control is our own response and attitude. We are going to get through this together and nothing can or will take away from the accomplishment of graduating from college.
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