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How to Tell Your Professor You Will Be Absent

Missing class in college is one of the most understated plights students face. It’s one of the first tests of personal responsibility faced in adulthood, a daily debate we can have with ourselves. All in all, missing class is a major part of the college experience most of us would rather avoid. So, how do you manage missing class? What makes an absence excused? Here’s everything you need to know about missing class in college.

Types of Absences

Planned Absences

Planned absences are pre-determined and scheduled before you’re going to be absent. Professors should be informed of any planned absences as soon as possible and arrangements need to be made by the student for any missing work. Planned absences include appointments, trips, and religious holidays. Planned absences tend to be excused, but only if the student obtains and submits a note of excuse or the instructor excuses the absence. It’s best to check your university-wide rules on absences to determine if an absence will be excused.

Unexpected Absences

Some absences are not planned. You might find yourself sick or in some other unforeseen situation that causes you to miss class. Unexpected absences include illness or sick leave, death of family or household members, and other unexpected circumstances. Unexpected absences may be excused or unexcused depending on the reason for your absence and whether or not your professor will excuse the absence. If you have a doctor’s note or other justification, your absence will be considered excused. In addition to university-wide rules, it’s a good rule of thumb to review any existing course handbooks for absence policies.

Excused and Unexcused Absences

Absences are typically only excused if you have a note or another valid form of verification AND turn it into your professor within a week of your absence. If you do not have an excuse or the excuse is not submitted by the required date, your absence will not be excused. Going to the doctor, meeting with advisors, or going on school-related trips without a note or verification will result in an unexcused absence.

Know that you have a limited number of allowed unexcused absences. This number can be set by your instructor or your school, and is usually 4-7. Use all of your allowed unexcused absences and any unexcused absence afterwards will count against you. After a student is considered truant they may be penalized with a grade deduction, academic probation, or an automatic fail.

What should you know about missing class?

To make the best choices for your education you should be aware of several different factors that affect your options and decision making.

Your School’s Rules

Every school has a list of rules and procedures for student absences. While attending college you should know your school’s policy for absences, excused and unexcused. These rules will be your guide for excusing absences, determining what excuses are “valid,” and knowing how unexcused absences will affect you. Instructors may provide these rules in their syllabi, but they are also available in the student handbook and on your school’s website.

Valid Excuses for Being Absent

All colleges have a list of “valid” reasons for absences created by the Senate in the University Senate Rules (USR). As of the most recent revision, the USR 2019-20, the list is as follows:

  • Significant illness of the student, household member, or immediate family member, including hospitalization
  • Death of immediate family member or household member
  • Religious Holidays
  • Interviews for full-time job opportunities after graduation and for graduate or professional school
  • Any other circumstances the Instructor finds reasonable cause for absence.

There are other reasons a student might be excused to miss class, but they are tentative and left up to the instructor to agree to. Tentative excuses include:

  • School Events
  • School Trips (Including trips for student organizations, class trips, and trips for athletic events)
  • Educational opportunities agreed upon by your professor

If you have a disability, health issue, or another reason you might miss class often, contact the Disability Resource Center, Student Support Services, or your academic advisor. One of them should be able to help you with aid and accommodations to ensure your success. When registered with the Disability Resource Center, absences may not be counted against you.

Personal Stats

You should be aware of your grades and the number of absences you have at all times. Both are important factors in determining whether or not you should miss class. Grades are heavily dependent on attendance, so consider your grade when deciding whether or not to miss class. If you are approaching or have achieved 4-7 unexcused absences, it is unwise to miss another day of class.

What should you do if you miss class?

If you are absent from class, whether the absence is excused or unexcused, there are still steps you as a student are responsible for. While not required, it is wise to do what you can to ensure you do not fall behind in your classes. So, what should you do to make up for an absence?

Email Your Professors

Notify your professors of any upcoming absences. While it is best to email your professors early, unforeseen circumstances can arise. If you find yourself unable to attend class, let your professor know you will be absent as soon as possible, even if it’s an hour before class. Teachers are more receptive to students who give notice and are able to better help you when they are informed.

When emailing your instructor, use your student email. Professors are less likely to respond to emails sent from personal addresses and might not get back to you or even see your message. Keep your email brief and professional. Make them aware of the situation without rambling and oversharing, and ask them how they would like you to make up for missing class.

TIP: Need to email your professor but don’t know where to start? Check out HelpProfessor’s article, “ How to Email a Professor about not Attending Class (13 Tips + Sample)

Obtain An Excuse

If you can, get a note or other valid excuse to give to your instructor. Any doctor’s office should be able to provide you with a note after an appointment, which will be accepted and filed by your professor. Any school-related trip can be excused by receiving permission from your professor to miss class, and other reasons you missed class can be discussed for possible approval.

Remember to turn in your excuse within one week of the absence to be excused. After a week, excuses are no longer accepted.

Don’t Make A Habit of It

There isn’t a lot of room to negotiate. Being absent isn’t something you want to make a habit of. Truancy can result in serious academic consequences, like marks against your grade or gaining you an automatic “E” (the college equivalent of a failing grade). If you must be absent, try to get an excuse following your school’s absence policy.

Make Up Your Work

Collect the work you have or will miss. Your professors will be able to provide you with the work and can even give you an extension on assignments. While it seems scary to ask professors for missing assignments, extensions, and general help,  most of the time they are willing to help you. Most importantly, be proactive to stay ahead and avoid the pitfalls that can come from missing synchronous learning. 

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Top Tips for Writing College Essays

College essays are probably the most common and demanding assignments you’ll receive in higher education. Instructors use them as daily tasks, final projects, and a chance to hone valuable written skills. Some essays are simple, others are complex and nightmarish. Whatever the case, when you know what to do, the concept of the essay is a lot harder than writing the essay itself.

But if essays could become a part of your daily routine, you should know what your professors are looking for. You might have written essays in high school, but with higher education, comes higher standards. So, how do you write a college essay? Read on for some tips and tricks on the expectations of writing essays that can help you ace your assignment!

Essay Structure

While the criteria each instructor has in mind is different, the structure of the essays are the same. You might recognize these elements from high school essay writing, and that’s because things don’t change much. For the most part, what you learned in high school still holds true in college. The key components of an essay we were taught in middle and high school – the introduction, the body, and the conclusion – are still major parts of the essay structure. There are, however, a few additions made in higher learning. 

The Introduction: Prompt and Personal Statement

The introduction paragraph consists of two parts: the topic sentence and the thesis statement.

Your topic sentence is what your essay is about.

Topic sentences tend to be attention grabbing to spur the reader to continue reading, using wit, humor, and other appeals to engage the reader. The goal is to catch your reader’s attention and inform them of your topic.

Your thesis statement is what you’re arguing.

Your thesis should show a clear bias to let your readers know where you stand on the subject and must be something you can argue. The thesis statement is the most important part of your essay. This will be what you’re trying to prove – the very reason you’re writing the essay. The thesis statement can be followed by your main points (the topics of your body paragraphs) but this is not required. They are usually listed within or after the thesis statement, often presented as “this is my thesis and here’s what I’m going to talk about to prove it.”

The Body

Your body paragraphs lay out your argument.

Your points and supporting evidence will make up these paragraphs, backing your argument in a coherent way. You should have three or more body paragraphs, each covering a different point you identified in your introduction statement.

Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence.

You want to introduce the reader to your topic before diving into an explanation, and you want a smooth transition between paragraphs. Topic sentences in body paragraphs should prepare the reader for the explanation.

Each body paragraph should have an explanation.

You must tell the reader why this topic supports your argument by providing supporting details and evidence.

Each body paragraph only needs 1-2 well developed pieces of evidence.

This evidence will be the “how” to your “why.” In your explanation, you describe how your argument is valid, so your evidence is there to provide an example. You can have more than two pieces of evidence, but too many makes it more about the evidence than your opinion. You should be supported by your evidence, not supporting your evidence.

Each paragraph should be at least 4 sentences long.

Any less than four sentences leaves no room to prove your point, and can lack depth to support your argument. However, too many sentences can be long-winded and hard to read. You don’t want to bore your reader or leave them lost in the endless sentences. Try to be aware of your paragraph length and don’t ramble.

The Counter Argument

The counter argument acknowledges the other side of the argument. Here, you acknowledge who you are arguing against and why they might have the opposing opinion. The rebuttal is the part of the counter argument in which you explain why the opposition is wrong and you are, in fact, right.

The Conclusion

The conclusion should restate your thesis and summarize your argument. Use the conclusion as an opportunity to complete your thoughts, restate any supporting evidence you feel is worthy of review, and offer a strong final statement.

The Annotated Bibliography

In just about all of your college essays you’ll have to cite your sources. However, some essays require an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography is a bibliography that requires a summary of each source. This gives your reader a better understanding of your supporting evidence by giving them an idea of what the source is about. It also works as a deterrent to using sources you don’t quite understand, or those that have little to do with the subject.

You might find useful sources and already written annotated bibliographies on your school’s library database. This can make supporting your argument and writing your bibliography much easier. For sources that don’t have annotated bibs, you’ll probably have to write your own. Some professors require you to write your annotated bibs in your own words, in which case, a how-to could be helpful. 

Annotated bibliographies are usually used for research essays. While you might be required to produce an annotated bib for a research paper, if you’re writing an argumentative essay or another essay that doesn’t rely too heavily on support, using an annotated bib isn’t necessary unless it is explicitly stated that it.

Planning

Set aside time.

Do not try to write your essay the night it’s due. Professors usually set essays to be turned in by 11:59pm on whatever day they’ve chosen. You don’t want to be scrambling at 11pm because you haven’t started yet. Procrastination is a bad habit that you’ll want to break for the sake of your grade.

Carefully read your assignment.

Before you begin planning you must know what your assignment is so that you can make choices and set goals. You don’t want to misunderstand the instructions, so carefully reading the assignment will ensure you start on the right track. Within the instructions you can find the word count, the prompt and options, and the due date.

Read the rubric.

If your instructor provides you with a rubric, become familiar with it. Rubrics are like cheat sheets on how to ace an assignment, telling you what your instructor is looking for and how to achieve it, so you only stand to gain by reading it.

Choose your prompt, topic, and/or position.

Your prompt, topic, and position you will make or break your essay. You want to write about something you know, or something you can confidently argue and support.

Start with an outline.

Outlining your essay before writing your first draft can provide much needed structure, organizing thoughts and ideas. Outlining makes it easier to know what you want to say and where you want to go, rather than trying to go on as you write. In your outline, you can address requirements like your thesis, paragraph topics, and evidence to be incorporated in your essay. Skip this step and you could find your sentences incoherent and unorderly. 

Find sources, or use the resources provided to you.

Finding sources to support your argument coincides with outlining. When you’ve decided what your main points will be, collecting sources, quotes, and data you intend to use basically eliminates half of your work. This will allow you to keep your supporting evidence on hand rather than searching for something that works in the middle of a draft. You’ll also have an idea of what arguments will and will not work, so you can change your points early on rather than when you’re halfway done with the assignment.

Writing

Follow the essay structure.

Use the tools given to you and ensure that if a particular structure has been requested, you follow the guidelines. 

Be clear and concise.

Do not write vague and unfinished thoughts, and do not ramble, leaving a run-on sentence in your wake. You want to elaborate on what you are saying, but it doesn’t have to come at the cost of the reader’s attention.

Do not turn in your first draft.

While you might think your first draft is a winner, you shouldn’t use it as your final draft. You’ll want to give yourself time to review and potentially rewrite parts of your essay to maximize the efficiency and clarity of your argument. Not only that, but some professors require both a first and final draft to be turned in. They expect to see the development of an argument and changes made in peer review or in the wake of new information.

Final Steps

Proofread.

Look over your essay once more to make sure it’s clear, informative, and persuasive. Proof reading is like a wall. Paint a wall and you’ll notice all of the scrapes and cracks. Change your font and you’ll see mistakes you didn’t before, if there are any to be revealed. Double-check your formatting. 

MLA Format.

Professors tend to take formatting seriously, and one’s ability to follow such simple guidelines is important. In many instances, points will be deducted for incorrect formatting. This also carries over to citing sources, as your bibliography is expected to abide by MLA citation rules.

Basic MLA formatting follows these rules:

  • 12 pt. Font
  • Times New Roman
  • Double Spaced (The one good thing to come out of a page count
  • 1-Inch Margins

TIP: Want to know more about MLA formatting? Check out Purdue University’s guide, “MLA General Format.”

Submit your final draft.

Once you have finished writing and reviewing your final draft, submit it to your instructor.

College essays get easier with time and experience. Building up your skills and following this guide will make you a pro in no time! 

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Works Cited

How to Prevent and Resolve Roommate Conflicts

Conflict happens. At some point or another, it’s going to happen with you and your roommate. The question is, how will you deal with conflict when it inevitably arrives?

Many conflicts can be resolved easily with mature and respectful conversation between roommates. Other conflicts may be more difficult to resolve and may require assistance through a formal mediation process. In extreme cases, conflicts may not be able to be resolved, resulting in a room change for one or both roommates.

Maintaining a harmonious roommate relationship requires courtesy, mutual respect, lots of communication and an acceptance of others’ differences.

There are two things you need to know when dealing with roommate conflicts. First, how to prevent them. Second, how to peacefully reach a resolution.

How to Prevent Conflict

1. Know the 10 Most Common Triggers for Roommate Problems

  • Money (rent – who’s not paying on time?)
  • Allocation of shared spaces
  • 3rd wheel syndrome (someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend is always around)
  • Messiness / cleanliness
  • Sharing items (food)
  • Study habits and sleeping patterns
  • Noise levels (especially during sleep and study times)
  • Lifestyle differences (cigarette, drug and alcohol habits)
  • Socializing 
  • Values / morals

Before you agree to be roommates, have a conversation about how conflict will be handled if it ever does arise. Talk about how you like to be approached about issues. Be thorough, don’t gloss over a potential issue.

2. Sign a Roommate Agreement

Everyone has quirks: things that you like, things you can’t stand, etc. But when you’re living in a small room and have little personal space, little issues can cause big-time conflict.

Set boundaries early in your roommate relationship – be clear and specific about what will or won’t be allowed in your room or shared space. Write down the rules and make sure each person has equal input. 

Make a plan for who pays and does what/when. Make a plan for things like: how the utilities will be paid, if you’ll share food, and how the apartment will be cleaned. When there’s a problem, look back to this for the terms both you and the other person signed and agreed to in the beginning.

You may think you don’t need a roommate agreement if you’ve decided to live with a friend or someone you already know. It may not be obvious right away that you need one, but after a few weeks – you may start seeing your differences and how they affect each other. 

When you start by talking about your behaviors and preferences, you’ll understand each other better and are more likely to avoid disagreements. Check out this roommate agreement contract template to get an idea of what to include. 

3. Be a Good Roommate

All relationships are two-way streets. When you do run into a conflict with your roommate, be respectful. Take the high road. If not the high road of understanding, then do the basics of building a good partnership.

Ways to be a considerate roommate include:

  • Communicate (without emotion if you can)
  • Establish boundaries (and re-establish them if needed)
  • Respect boundaries
  • Be polite and considerate
  • Be flexible (adapt, compromise)
  • Clean up after yourself 
  • Don’t borrow; but if you do, return the loan in a timely fashion

If you did something that was not thoughtful or considerate, apologize. Taking ownership for wrong actions is often the best way to prevent more conflict.

4. Keep Communication Open

You shouldn’t have to live ignoring your problems and believing that there’s nothing you can do about what’s going on. Finding solutions and brainstorming options can be a great learning experience and lead to stronger relationships in the end.

It is normal to have tension and conflict with another person when you live so closely. But before you make up your mind that you are the one who has been wronged, ask some questions. Reach out to the other with a desire to understand where they are coming from. That doesn’t mean you have to agree, but it does mean you need to keep an open mind that if two people are living in a space there is potential that there could be two sides of the story.

Most roommate conflicts are the result of miscommunication or, in some cases, a total lack of communication. If you can communicate effectively, it will be much easier to develop a comfortable living environment for yourself and your roommates.

How to Resolve Conflict : Confrontation Tips

1. Listen to Their Concerns

Know the difference between just hearing and really listening. For example, while your roommate is expressing his/her concerns about your habit of leaving papers all over the place, are you simply waiting for your turn to defend yourself, or listening? 

Use the LARA method to communicate.

  • L stands for Listen. In this stage of LARA, active listening needs to be practiced, by maintaining eye contact, nodding your head, and showing that you are listening.
  • A stands for Affirm or Acknowledge. Much like active listening, this stage requires saying something affirming like “I can understand why it’s difficult for you to talk about this and why it is so important to you.”  Acknowledge the feelings and needs behind what is being said.
  • R stands for Respond. This is when you can respond to what was said – address the interests and needs that your roommate brought up. 
  • A stands for Add. This is when you can provide additional information or options about solutions.

2. Communication is Key

Sometimes the best way to solve the issue is to have a conversation about what’s bothering you. You should let your roommate know what action bothered you and why. This way, they are aware of what they should and shouldn’t do while living with you. Communication can be extremely effective in most situations and helps to build the relationship with your roommates. 

Try to avoid a “me versus them” mentality. Resolving roommate conflicts should be both roommates working together to fix a problem; problems will often get worse if one roommate lays all of the blame on the other.

When addressing the issue:

  • Approach your roommate in private 
  • Make sure that your roommate has time to talk. If someone in the conversation feels rushed the effectiveness of the conversation may lose its value. 
  • Be direct. Address behavioral issues rather than personality issues. This will help to make your roommate feel less defensive.
  • Be patient. Hear your roommate’s point of view.
  • Make sure that each person gets a chance to express what they feel the problem is.

3. Use “I” Statements

Statements that begin with “I”, “From my perspective”, or “The way I see it…” make it clear that you are speaking for yourself. “I” statements focus on your experience, thoughts, feelings, reactions and decisions and not on any beliefs or judgments you may have made about the other person.

Sentences that begin with “You”, such as “you always” or  “you are” make broad, inaccurate generalizations about the other person and often lead to the other person feeling blamed and judged.

If you are using “I” statements it becomes difficult to make accusatory assumptions about the other person’s intentions or behaviour. “I felt intimidated by your response” has quite a different impact than “You are aggressive with me.”

4. Compromise

Living with other people requires some compromise. Compromise means you get some and you give some. You can’t control everything about your space like at home. You are living with other people. Be prepared to compromise.

Tell your roommates you prefer to keep the room cold at night. Then ask what they prefer. If they like it warm, you will have to come up with a compromise. Be willing to meet somewhere in the middle.

5. Bring in a Mediator

After exhausting your other options, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you live in a dorm, visit your RA. It’s their job to help you handle conflicts. Talk to them about the issues you’ve been having with your roommate and set up a time where they can sit down with you and help mediate a conversation about issues. A third-party influence can make a huge difference in working through problems.

Outside of a dorm or college living situation, a friend can mediate the conversation for you. Mediation can take a while to resolve issues as you work through everything, but it’s better than endless arguing with your roommate. This mediator will act as an unbiased third party, making sure that the conversation doesn’t go off topic and that everyone stays calm. During mediation, you have to respect everyone involved in the conversation and really listen to the questions and answers. This way, you can reach an agreement and solve the underlying conflict.

As adults, we all have the capacity to co-exist with others who are different than ourselves. Getting to know a college roommate and figuring out how to live together can be one of college’s great learning experiences. When the relationship is successful, roommates can build a friendship or establish a contact that will last a lifetime. 

Even if you realize you’ll never be good friends with your roommate, using these tips to avoid conflict will help maintain an enjoyable, productive atmosphere in your college dorm or apartment. 

Be sure to connect with us, @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://reslife.net/ra/resolving-roommate-conflicts/
  2. https://www.seguetocollege.com/home/how-to-prevent-roommate-conflict
  3. https://studybreaks.com/college/roommate-conflicts/
  4. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/resolving-conflicts-with-your-college-roommate-1986790
  5. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/college-roommates_b_941984

And the Winner of the Free Nintendo Switch is…

Who doesn’t love a contest? Judging from the response to our eCampus.com K-12 Textbook Buyback Giveaway, it’s safe to say NO ONE! Giving away a Nintendo Switch and a total of $750 in textbook scholarships was an attention grabber for sure, resulting in thousands of entries. How did our customers enter? That was the easy part. Any eCampus.com K-12 Online Bookstore customer who sold back at least one textbook online through their school-specific bookstore from May 14, 2020 – July 15, 2020 became eligible to win.  

Let’s face it, this year has been unpredictable. It’s no surprise schools were forced to pivot how they handled textbook buyback events this spring given the COVID-19 pandemic. For eCampus.com partner schools, it was a seamless transition from onsite to online buybacks since their bookstores were already online with a customized storefront. Still, eCampus.com was committed to finding ways to make the textbook buyback process a more rewarding one – so, why not give away some free textbooks and a Nintendo Switch in the process? 

The giveaway was open to any student currently enrolled at an eCampus.com K-12 partner institution, which encompasses hundreds of schools. Students and families were happy to sell back textbooks from the comfort and safety of their homes and make some extra cash in the process. By selling at least one textbook online, students were automatically entered to win a $250 textbook scholarship and the free Nintendo Switch. 

The contest response was overwhelmingly positive and we are happy to celebrate our winners!

So, who was the lucky grand prize winner? Congratulations goes to Anaston Ragsdale from Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw, Georgia. Ragsdale was randomly selected from thousands of entries and is the proud new owner of a FREE Nintendo Switch.

“We’ve always had a good experience with our eCampus.com Online Bookstore,” said Brenda Ragsdale, Anaston’s mother. “The textbooks come quickly and we’ve also had a positive experience selling back our textbooks at the end of the year.” An eCampus.com partner since 2019, Mount Paran Christian School’s Online Bookstore is where students are able to take advantage of a 24/7 online bookstore offering the guaranteed right course materials with free shipping promotions. 

In addition to the grand prize winner, additional winners were selected to receive a $250 textbook scholarship, including the Kozak family from Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, Maryland and Beth L. from Marian High School in Omaha, Nebraska. 

“eCampus makes the process of purchasing my books SO easy,” says Beth. “They have all of my classes listed and let me know quickly what textbooks and digital downloads I’ll need and whether it’s cheaper to buy used, new or through their marketplace. I love the confirmation email with photos of each item so I can confirm when I receive them.”

The full press release can be found here.

Congratulations to all of our winners! Still holding on to textbooks you no longer need? Sell them back to us HERE. We’re always buying textbooks and right now you can take advantage of premium buyback pricing through September 15, 2020. 

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when you’re ready to order textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Social Distancing on Campus

In the early months of this year, the world came to a grinding halt. In the wake of a global pandemic, schools and colleges had to decide how to proceed quickly. Campuses closed their doors, classes made the switch to online to finish out the semester, and students were left in limbo. Some businesses closed their doors, and others shifted into high gear to provide essential goods and services to the public. In the few months of quarantine, we’ve seen significant changes. Now, as we are experiencing a re-opening, we must find a balance between our old way of life and our lessons from quarantine.

No one is quite sure what the next few months will bring. We’d all like to go back to our old lives, but we’ll face certain limitations in the future. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve become familiar with safety procedures that we’ll soon have to apply on a mass scale. You’ll want to know how to mix the crucial parts of social distancing with the return to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

So, how can you navigate life in this post-quarantine world, while preserving the health and safety of yourself and others? Here is some info and a few tips and tricks that will allow you to get back to normal–Or more accurately, adjust to a new normal.

Social Distancing on Campus

What is social distancing?

Social distancing, also called physical distancing, is the practice of stopping or slowing the spread of a virus or other illness by maintaining a distance between yourself and another person to avoid becoming infected or infecting someone else.

What is the distance required for proper social distancing? 

For coronavirus, the proper range for social distancing is six feet, or about two arms’ lengths.

Life with Social Distancing on Campus

Universities are working with these new regulations and guidelines in different ways to ensure the safety of students and staff while still preserving traditional educational structures. How exactly will they be doing this?

Making Some Changes

Many colleges that have decided students will return to campus for the fall semester have chosen to start classes earlier than usual and end them earlier as well. The term will end before Thanksgiving break and students will not return to campus after the holiday. This new end of term date is meant to eliminate travel back and forth to campus surrounding Thanksgiving.

Here’s how one of our eCampus.com partner schools, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is handling their on-campus classes:

  • Early start and end of the semester
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day
  • The college is working to make face coverings available to faculty and staff
  • Each on-site employee can receive two washable coverings to use while on campus

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is also working with their online bookstore management team, Books by eCampus, to ensure students are prepared with the course materials they need by supporting online ordering with ship-to-home and ship-to-campus options.

Some colleges plan to integrate online courses due to social distancing and space limitations. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio intends to make selective accommodations for students with serious health concerns and those who need to self-isolate. Miami is working with its local hospital to develop a system for testing and isolating residential students who may be exposed to the virus in a way to ensure these students can continue their studies in place while protecting other students, faculty, and staff. Books by eCampus has partnered with Miami University since 2017 and will continue to provide flexible textbook ordering and shipping options for students regardless of where they will reside for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Campuses are doing their part to create a hygienic environment for learning. Clark State University will be enforcing physical distancing protocols and procedures for campus locations such as classrooms and libraries, and at outdoor events. The school will also be providing student health services and support, practicing “frequent and aggressive cleaning of facilities and surfaces,” making hand sanitizer available, and placing distancing stickers and health and hygiene messaging around their campus. Students will be asked to follow the Return to Campus Daily Checklist and make the decisions they believe are in the best interest of their fellow students. Having course materials available through their Books by eCampus online bookstore has proven invaluable, allowing students to purchase their professor-selected course materials from the comfort of their homes. 

On-Campus Housing

In the spring, almost all colleges and universities closed their campuses and dorms and made the switch to online learning. Residential students were displaced. Some returned home to their families; others were displaced and left looking for somewhere to stay. But soon, in the fall semester, many colleges and universities plan to reopen their campuses, and with them, the dorms and residence halls. But how will they go about this without repeating the past? What can they do to house their students with minimal risk of an outbreak?

Some campuses plan to subject students to “COVID-19 Screening activities” in order to determine their eligibility for on-campus housing. Some universities will require face coverings in the halls and communal areas of the residence halls (but not in-room or with a roommate, as the room is considered a private or family residence).

Campuses closing on the new end date of the semester will be making accommodations for residential students who cannot depart.

Everyday Personal Health and Safety

In the last few months of quarantine, you’ve probably picked up a thing or two. We all know basic social distancing guidelines, but as we reenter society and trek the uncharted territory of COVID-19-aware college campuses, it’s good to have a reminder. The CDC names six essential steps on “How to Protect Yourself and Others.”

Personal Hygiene

1.) Wash your hands often!

Frequent hand washing is an essential part of staying healthy and preventing the spread of germs. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. If you find you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

For the general public, the CDC recommends wearing gloves when cleaning and disinfecting your home or caring for someone who is sick. Gloves are not required for most other tasks, and guidelines for healthcare and work settings differ.

TIP: Many people find it helpful to sing 20-second songs or song fragments while washing their hands. Check out “Being smarter in 2020: Songs to sing while washing your hands,” on Tuscan.com for hand-washing tunes!

2.) Cover coughs and sneezes

Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If a tissue is not available to you, use the inside of your elbow. Do not spit. 

Do not cough or sneeze into your hand, openly, or on others. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after sneezing or coughing.

3.) Clean and disinfect

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Social Distancing and Virus Protection

4.) Wear a mask!

Wearing a mask is vital to preserving public health. Some cases are asymptomatic, meaning the infected person does not show symptoms or “become” sick. This means anyone could have the virus and be completely unaware, and could unwittingly spread COVID-19 to others. This is why everyone who can wear a face mask should.

Officials recommend wearing a cloth mask (or mask-like covering) when coming within 6-feet of another person, in crowded settings, or generally when leaving your home. For these reasons, it’s safe to assume you should wear masks on campus.

When wearing a mask:

  • Do: Make sure you can breathe through it.
  • Do: Make sure it covers your nose and mouth.
  • Do: Wear it whenever going out in public.
  • Do: Wash your mask after use (if reusable).
  • Do: Continue to wash your hands often.
  • Don’t: Put masks on children under 2 years of age.
  • Don’t: Put masks on anyone who has trouble breathing.
  • Don’t: Put masks on anyone unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
  • Don’t: Use face masks as a substitute for social distancing.
  • Don’t: Reuse disposable masks and respirators.

The CDC strongly advises against using a facemask “meant for a healthcare worker.” This would include N-95 respirators and other surgical masks used by healthcare workers in direct contact with patients. This is likely because of the global mask shortage, which has hit the medical community hard. Healthcare workers need these masks to preserve the health and safety of their patients, as well as themselves, from COVID-19 and other viruses and infectious diseases they may come into contact with in their line of work. The CDC recommends that “Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example, to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.”

TIP: Make sure you’ve got it right! Check out The San Francisco Department of Public Health ‘s article, “How to Put on and Remove a Face Mask,” for more on how to safely wear a mask or face covering.

5.) Avoid close contact (Practice Social Distancing)

Avoid close contact with others, especially people who are sick. It is difficult to know if someone else has contracted the virus, as some people with the virus are asymptomatic (do not show symptoms or “become” sick). Because of this, it is important to try to put distance between yourself and all other people outside of your home. Maintain six feet of space between yourself and others, if possible. Do the same with others in your home if they become sick.

Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Vulnerable people, such as the elderly and people who are immunocompromised, face serious complications with the virus. To protect them and yourself, don’t get too close to others.

6.) Monitor Your Health

Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. This is especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be challenging to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

Take your temperature if symptoms develop. Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.

What happens next is a big unknown. It is only when everyone does their part that we can feel secure in our efforts. Practice social distancing and follow your school’s rules and guidelines this fall. We’re all in this together. 

Be sure to connect with us, @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Works Cited

  1. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public.” World Health Organization. WHO, 2020. Web. 29 Apr. 2020.
  2. Cherney, Kristeen. “Does Wearing a Mask Protect You from the Flu and Other Viruses?Healthline. Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company, 2005-2020. Web. 18 Mar. 2020.
  3. Crawford, Gregory P. “Miami announces plans for fall 2020 return.” Miami University. Miami University, 2020. Web. 5 June. 2020.
  4. Mitchell, Madeline. “Miami University will return to campus for fall, plans to finish classes by Thanksgiving.” Cincinnati.com, The Enquirer. www.cincinnati.com, 2020. Web. 5 June, 2020.
  5. Fall 2020 Semester Information.” University of Massachusetts Amherst. University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020. Web.
  6. Cloth Face Coverings Available for UMass Employees.” University of Massachusetts Amherst. University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2020. Web.
  7. Godoy, Maria. “Yes, Wearing Masks Helps. Here’s Why.” Shots Health News from NPR. NPR, 2020. Web. 21 June. 2020.
  8. Face Coverings Do’s and Don’ts.” Dallas College. Dallas College, 2020.
  9. Not All Face Masks are Created Equal: Know Which Type of Face Mask You Need and When.” Atrium Health. Atrium Health, 2020. Web. 22 April. 2020. 
  10. Chotiner, Isaac. “How to Maintain Social Distance as the U.S. Reopens.” The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 2020. Web. 25 May. 2020.
  11. Preventing the spread of the coronavirus.” Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard University, 2020. Web. March. 2020.