Staying safe for those returning to university

Heading back to uni? Five ways to stay safe…

There are concerns that the spread of COVID-19 may increase with children returning to school and students returning to university. If you or those close to you are heading back to campus, the following measures may help to keep everyone safe.

  1. Be prepared for change. It’s likely that events like Freshers’ Week will be cancelled or postponed, so you’ll need to find new ways of meeting new people and making friends. Some buildings may be closed, and your learning may be structured differently. You may have more online lectures or you might be required to wear a mask to face-to-face sessions. There are likely to be strict rules in place even within your accommodation, so be aware that university may be a very different experience this year.
  2. Remember the original guidelines. It may feel as though the worst of the virus is over now, but there is a real danger that a second wave could strike, so don’t forget to observe the usual rituals. Keep washing your hands, keep surfaces and door handles clean, and keep your distance from other people as much as possible. Students and social distancing don’t always go hand in hand, but it’s really important to do whatever you can to stop the spread. If you do have to be in close proximity to others, consider wearing a mask and gloves, just as you would at the supermarket or for a medical appointment.
  3. Find new ways to socialise. While pubs and restaurants are now open, they may not be the best places for groups of students to congregate. Why not meet up for an outdoor picnic or have a Zoom drink together? It’s not quite the same, but it’s better than barricading yourself in your room for the foreseeable future. If you’re hanging out in communal spaces, try to keep your distance and make sure the room is clean and well ventilated.
  4. Shop online. If you can, try to have groceries and other goods delivered to your accommodation so you don’t have to come into contact with multiple people or touch potentially compromised surfaces. If anyone nearby is vulnerable or shielding, find out if they need anything and have it delivered along with your goods. It can be easier and more fun to shop online, but avoid the temptation to blow your whole semester’s budget on a major fashion splurge!
  5. Rethink the way you do church. You may be part of a great church that welcomes and celebrates students, but it might not be possible to attend in person at the moment. Find out if your church has an online service. Some are very interactive, so you can still play your part and worship God as an online community of believers. If your church is gathering in person and you feel it’s right to attend, take the sensible precautions listed above and avoid hugging everyone, even if you’ve really missed them over the summer!

You can still be a really positive influence on and off campus, regardless of the Covid-19 situation, but don’t take unnecessary risks. Protect yourself and others by taking that little bit of extra care this semester.

Proverbs 2:10 says: “For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”