2020 has been a year like no other. Everyone has had to make adjustments to adhere to government guidelines for dealing with Covid-19, and the education sector is no exception. The future of University education has been called into question, and there is a lot of uncertainty about how things are going to work as we head into the new academic year.
We can speculate based on what Universities have announced in recent months, but we can also expect things to adapt and change as the months go on and circumstances change. So, if you’re getting ready to head off to University, take a look at how you can prepare yourself for studying in this unprecedented time.
Follow Safety Procedures
Universities will have a variety of safety procedures for students and staff to adhere to, and these will likely vary from one institution to another. You may find that a lot of your physical lectures are online, but you may be able to attend seminars in person. Make sure you find out ahead of time what is expected of you and be ready to adjust to last-minute changes in the event of an outbreak. This may mean not waking up five minutes before your lecture start time and giving yourself enough time in the mornings to find out if there have been changes.
There will likely be one-way systems on campus, hand sanitiser stations and social distancing procedures. You should take note of all of these and follow the guidelines as stated. All the safety procedures are there to protect students and staff, and as long as everyone follows them, outbreaks should be prevented, and you can continue to study as usual.
Wear a Mask
You’re probably used to masks by now. They’re still mandatory in shops, but your University may make them compulsory for indoors or walking between seminars. Or even if they’re not a requirement, you may just want to wear one for reassurance; chances are many students will be.
Bring masks with you or be prepared to make your own; there are plenty of tutorials online that can help. Make sure yours is comfortable enough to wear for extended periods, and wash them regularly if they are cloth ones.
Stick to a Rigorous Cleaning Regime
Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to leave your student accommodation in Lancaster to fester this year. Cleaning is typically a very lax activity for students, but this year will be different. You will need to keep your accommodation clean and disinfected to help protect yourself and your housemates from the virus.
Germs land on surfaces as a result of coughing, sneezing or even just putting your unclean hands on them. So make sure you are regularly disinfecting your accommodation to help protect those in your house and any visitors. Doorknobs, handles, taps and light switches are all surfaces often touched by many different people, so give them a frequent rub down with disinfectant to help reduce the possibility of germs spreading.
Think of Virtual Alternatives
There will likely be changes to social activities at University this year. Freshers week could very well be online, or many of the busiest events that run throughout the year might be cancelled or made much smaller. If you’re a second or third year who is involved in running a society, you may need to start thinking of alternatives to your usual events.
Check with your student’s union about what kind of events are still going ahead and whether your planned activities will be likely to break guidelines. You may need to come up with ways to engage with new members virtually, such as throwing a virtual pub quiz or video call to introduce members to your society.
Alert People to Illness
If at any point this year you feel ill, you need to let people know. It might not be the dreaded Covid-19, but you should let people know anyway just in case so they can make arrangements. You should let your University healthcare providers know as well as any of the people you have been in close proximity with so they can prepare to self-isolate if necessary.
It might be frustrating to have to miss engaging in in-person events as a result of illness, but it’s better in the long run. You don’t want to cause the virus to spread across the campus, as an outbreak could force the University to have to close. Make sure you order a test as soon as you feel symptoms and let the right people know what’s going on so people can prepare for the possibility of an outbreak.
At Student Housing Lancaster, we hope that you still manage to have a great time at University this year despite all the uncertainties. Student life this year won’t be quite what you imagined, but with the right precautions and forward-thinking, you can still enjoy yourself and engage in student activities as much as possible.