COVID-19 isolation survival guide

By Julia Pearl | Reporter

If there has been one thing Baylor students can count on since spring break, it’s uncertainty. COVID-19 has affected our relationships, our careers and nearly every aspect of our education. Now that classes are once again being held in person, there’s even more at stake.

Because college forces us to live in such close proximity to one another, whether it be in an on-campus dorm or off-campus housing, testing positive for COVID-19 creates a whole subset of questions and obstacles.

For students living on campus, some of those challenges are lessened by Baylor’s response plan, but no matter a student’s living situation, a positive COVID-19 test should not send you into a panic.

A student’s sole focus following a positive test should be their recovery, not their anxiety. In order to ensure that in the event of infection recovery is your biggest worry, there are a number of challenges you can prepare for in advance.

Following a positive for COVID-19, students are required to spend a minimum of 10 days in self-isolation. For students on campus, Baylor provides isolation housing and the option of having meals delivered. However, off-campus students do not have the luxury of a delivered meal plan, and going to the grocery store is not an option.

A good plan would be to keep a number of canned or non-perishable foods in your pantry and find a grocery contingency partner. Pick a trusted friend and make them your buddy. If they catch COVID-19 you’ll pick up their groceries and vice versa. You can spice up your self-isolation by creating clever or funny Venmo descriptions to go with the payment for these types of grocery runs.

Possibly more difficult to navigate — and best discussed in advance — are plans for how your roommates and family plan to prevent and respond to COVID-19. It’s important to set forth expectations well in advance, so a positive test result doesn’t breed tension or create blame. If you’re uncomfortable with your roommates engaging in activities that increase their risk of infection, you should talk about it and and express your concerns. You should also discuss a plan for self-isolation regarding any communal spaces.

Additionally, it is important to speak with your family, even if they don’t live near you. The possibility of infection is a real concern, but it doesn’t need to be a reason for parents to panic and you shouldn’t feel the need to hide a positive COVID-19 test from your family. If you don’t want your mom hopping in the car or on a plane when you break the news of your COVID-19 infection to her, you might just want to give her a call beforehand.

While class work is often one of the most stressful parts of a college student’s life, it is probably the easiest part of preparing for the possibility of catching COVID-19. Your professors understand that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and they want to avoid COVID-19 just as much as the next person. With that said, if you’re worried about catching up on assignments or getting the information you need out of the course, ask your professors about their expectations. You should also take sometime to set forth realistic expectations for yourself. When sick, our bodies need time to rest and recover, that means course work comes second.

Finally, if someone catches COVID-19, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were irresponsible or disobeyed the guidelines. The plans set forth by Baylor anticipate for people to get infected because there is no way to completely prevent the spread. A classmate that catches COVID-19 deserves empathy and respect not disdain. Additionally, if sorting out a COVID-19 plan with your roommates sounds like a daunting task, sharing this article can be a good way to start those conversations.