Going back to Washington College for the 2021 spring semester? Here are some items to help you be prepared

By Kaitlin Dunn

Elm Staff Writer 

As the fall semester comes to a close, Washington College students are wondering what upcoming spring semester will entail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As of now, the WC Contingency Planning Group has announced that the campus will be open for the 2021 spring semester, with students being allowed to return to campus for online instruction.

The arrival of students is contingent upon many variables. Students will be required to quarantine for two weeks both before their arrival, and after they have arrived on campus, as well as being required to download the Emocha app to record their temperatures and any symptoms they may be experiencing. 

Other changes to be implemented for students to arrive on campus include a required, documented flu shot and the strong discouragement of leaving campus once you have arrived, which is available on the WC CPG page. 

For many students, there may be some uncertainty about what to bring with them when moving on campus. 

 Vice President of Student Affairs Sarah Feyerherm recommends “students think about bringing some things they might not normally bring with them to campus.”

Both Feyerherm and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Candace Wannamaker offered what they believe will be most beneficial to students planning to return to campus for the spring semester:

Additional hand sanitizer: The College has implemented numerous hand sanitizing stations around campus, but it is suggested that students have personal hand sanitizers with them as well.

Cleaning supplies: This pertains to cleaning supplies specifically for one’s dorm and quarantine area if they are required to quarantine. The bathrooms will be cleaned with formula approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Wannamaker.

Wannamaker suggests also bringing cleaning supplies from your own home for your dorm room, such as disinfecting wipes, to prepare to consistently clean to prevent the spread of germs. 

“Pack EPA-approved disinfecting wipes to use in your living spaces before, during, and after any possible isolation or quarantine. You will need to use these in any common areas of your residence while you are in isolation, quarantine, or anytime you are not feeling well,” Wannamaker said.

Extra face masks: Feyerherm and Wannamaker both suggest students bring multiple face coverings with them so that they can wear a fresh one each day. 

According to the CPG page, wearing face masks and coverings will be a mandatory practice, in accordance with local and state COVID-19 protocols and CDC guidelines, such as completely covering one’s nose and mouth. 

Medication: This includes over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and throat lozenges. 

Thermometer: It is suggested students bring a personal under-the-tongue thermometer with them to accurately monitor their temperatures.

“Pack a digital thermometer that works under your tongue, is easy to use, and is not expensive to purchase [and] make sure you have one with new batteries,” Wannamaker said.

In addition to the practical items, there is another side to consider when making your list of things to bring back to campus.

“I know that I’m going to be spending more time than usual in my room and in my house, so I’m trying to focus my energy on cultivating the kind of space and community that I want there,” Yale Junior Stella Vujic said in an interview with New York Magazine.

Here are some items to consider making sure you are comfortable during long hours in your dorm:

Noise-cancelling headphones: With on-campus buildings now limited capacity, it may be more difficult to find a quiet place to study next semester. Noise-cancelling headphones help ensure that one can always get some peace and quiet to get work done if they happen to be outside their dorm room.

Comfort foods: With the College’s mandatory quarantine when students return to campus, there will be meals provided for students each day.

“Although the college will ensure meals are delivered to those isolating or quarantining on campus, your favorite snacks can sometimes provide comfort,” Wannamaker said.

Yoga mat: This spring, the Johnson Fitness Center will be open, with mandated sign-up sheets for eligible students who have been following COVID-19 protocols, including those “not in quarantine” and “completing the Emocha [app] check-in,” according to Feyerherm. 

With the gym not necessarily being an option for some during the ongoing pandemic, a yoga mat ensures that you can work out without leaving the comfort of your room.

Plants: Plants can liven up a room and give you something to care for while in quarantine and offer the benefit of freshening up the air in your dorm room.

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