Back to school for 2020 looks a little different this year. What's supposed to be an exciting time is now full of questions and uncertainty. Many people are opting for a virtual back-to-school experience to prevent more COVID-19 spread and allow for social distancing, however, research shows us that students are learning best in school as opposed to remote learning.
Nebraska Methodist College has implemented changes and a campus plan to safely transition this fall, based on public health recommendations.
"I feel we are making the best decision for our colleges and universities," said Deb Carlson, president and CEO of Nebraska Methodist College. "With masks, social distancing, hand washing and cleaning, we can provide a safe environment for students and faculty to work and learn."
Schools, colleges and universities across the country (and around the world) have been working closely with public health experts to determine the best ways to reopen safely for the fall semester. Students and teachers alike are torn between concerns about the virus and looking forward to seeing people in person and having human connections we've all been missing. Here are the best ways to get back to school safely while still enjoying your education experience.
Wear your mask!
Scientific evidence is pointing towards masks reducing the spread of coronavirus. The CDC guidelines recommend that all of us wear masks or facial coverings to slow the pandemic, and all schools are requiring students and faculty to wear them. If you don't want to wear the traditional masks to school, try fun, colorful ones or personalized masks. You can find so many online made by local makers — not only are you supporting a good cause, but you're making the most out of bad situation.
Keep your (social) distance.
It's so tempting to want to hug classmates you haven't seen for a while or shake hands with new acquaintances, but it's still important to practice social distancing on campus with at least of six feet between others. The good news is, you still have the option to socialize in person and on campus rather than over video or social media — just give yourself some space.
Keep those hands clean.
And don't touch your face! Public health experts insist that keeping your hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose is paramount. Keep that travel-sized hand sanitizer hand in your purse or backpack. Frequent hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds will be crucial as well.
Monitor your symptoms.
Take your temperature if you suspect anything or feel ill. If you've been in close contact with a student who was exposed to COVID-19, be sure to quarantine for 14 days. Close contact will mean being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes.
Opt for distance learning.
Most classes at school will give you the option to learn remotely if you're uncomfortable returning to campus. Higher education institutions have plans in place for remote learning and taking an online class can be just as beneficial, especially during this time.
Take care of your mental health.
There is no denying that this is a stressful time that has invoked a lot of feelings. While physical wellness is important right now, mental health and well-being is just as paramount. Be in contact with your healthcare providers and school faculty to ensure support while you're experiencing a wide range of mental health needs.
This is an abnormal situation that will feel strange for a long time to come. But it's important to remember that we're all feeling this together. Give yourself permission to be sad and miss the way things used to be, but also try to create new, fun memories at school. Join in virtual activities and socially distanced gatherings and meet new people this school year. Always reach out to family and friends to talk about how you're feeling with everything. You're not alone, and we'll get through this together.
Keep up with us as we follow the changing information regarding coronavirus with our COVID-19 resource page.
If you want to make a difference in the lives of others, check out Nebraska Methodist College to further your education and start a life-changing career.