Supporting Your Student During COVID-19
Over the past year while experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, students and families have been asked to adjust to new living situations, remote learning, and new health and safety protocols. Your family is adapting to evolving changes in everyday life. While navigating these new challenges, your student will likely turn to you for guidance. Listening to and acknowledging their concerns and providing reassurance can help reduce your student’s anxiety and stress. Parent & Family Programs is here to support you and your Bearcat. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us if we can assist you.
If your student is currently residing at home, there may be some positive aspects of learning from home, such as the ability to create a more focused work environment with fewer distractions and better structure. However, the transition to being away from campus reduces your student’s campus engagement and connection to others. They could experience feelings of isolation, stress, and reduced independence from being back home and adjusting to following family rules. Other members of the family also have to adjust to having the student living back home. Here are some tips to help support your family during this time:
Talk with your student and other family members to determine the best way support one another. Here are some questions you can ask:
- What can we do to create a sense of normalcy?
- What do you think is the best way we can make this time together functional and meaningful?
- What is something you enjoy doing at school that we can try to do at home?
- How can we support you while you’re studying and completing classes remotely?
- Have you thought about a daily schedule? What would that look like?
- How do you plan to keep in touch with your college friends while your home?
Encourage your student to practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. If you must leave home, keep a distance of at least six feet between yourself and another person. Practice proper hand washing for 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face and remember to cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; and stay home if feeling sick.
The uncertainties and challenges of a pandemic can generate new stress and anxieties. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. In a time such as this, taking care of yourself and your family can help you and your Bearcat cope with stress. While you may notice a shift in your student’s routines and behaviors, it is important to urge them to keep up with regular routines. Their mental health and wellness are just as important as academic work.
The Student Wellness Center is providing virtual programming and resources to promote students’ well-being. Students also have access to mental health crisis care and consultation 24 hours a day 7 days a week via Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS). Encourage your student to talk with a counselor of they need support. And as a family member, don’t hesitate to reach out if you are concerned about your student.
Lots of aspects in our lives have changed and it can feel like our options for entertainment and fun are extremely limited these days. However, even if things look different, you can also use this time to enjoy crafts or hobbies and spend time with family. Play a family game. Try some fun things you may not have done in a while, but have always done together as a family. Teach your student to master a family recipe. Binge watch all your favorite shows, work on a puzzle, or get creative with an indoor exercise routine. You can stream a workout and do it together, or enjoy a nice walk or jog outdoors.
While their top priority may be academics, it is important to remind your student to take time for themselves each day. Encourage them to balance their personal, academic and social time. Creating a class and study schedule can help them stay on track and create a sense of normalcy while studying at home. Be sure they include time for themselves and time to socialize with family and friends either at home or virtually. Remember that your student is still in school and may not be able to take on household responsibilities as they normally would during summer and break times at home. The Learning Commons, which has always been a wonderful academic support resource for students, provides academic coaching, tutoring, supplemental instruction sessions, and more. They are currently offering services virtually, so students can utilize their resources no matter where they are.