COVID-19

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.

Winner, Winner…Pizza Dinner(s)

What college student wouldn’t want to win free pizza and textbooks for a year?! Ummm…can you say no one? That must be why the first-ever Books by eCampus textbook buyback giveaway was a hit among college students across the U.S. To enter the giveaway, students at any current Books by eCampus partner institution had to sell at least one textbook back through their school-specific online bookstore April 15, 2020 – June 1, 2020. Easy peasy! 

With all the craziness surrounding the spring 2020 semester related to the Covid-19 pandemic and online learning, eCampus.com was inspired to offer this first-time giveaway to help students take advantage of the online textbook buyback process. To thank students for taking time to sell online, Books by eCampus added some fun to the process with their giveaway aimed at lessening the blow of an unpredictable college semester. 

The giveaway was open to any student currently enrolled at a Books by eCampus partner institution, resulting in thousands of entries from eCampus.com’s 250 partner schools. By selling at least one textbook online, students were automatically entered to win a $500 textbook scholarship and free pizza for a year. 

So, who was the lucky winner? Drumroll, please…Emily Sauer of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Luck was on her side as she was randomly selected from thousands of participants. 

“The Books by eCampus Online Bookstore has helped me a lot because it makes getting my textbooks easy,” said Emily Sauer, who attends Miami University’s Hamilton, Ohio campus. “When I am done with my textbooks I know I can always sell them back and then get my next set.” Miami University has been a valued Books by eCampus partner since 2017, where students are able to take advantage of a 24/7 online bookstore offering free next-day shipping to campus of their professor-selected course materials.  

Congrats, Emily! 

The full press release can be found here.
Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! Are you a Books by eCampus student? Order today from your online bookstore! Not a Books by eCampus student? That’s ok, too! eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Keys to Successful Online Learning

For some of us, online learning is relatively new. For others, it’s the norm. Whatever the case, online learning courses can be a challenge, just like on-site learning. Adjustments include keeping up with the work, using a different medium to learn, and being more responsible for your education without a teacher physically present to manage you. E-learning offers more freedom, but also more opportunity for procrastination and idleness.

I’ve found in my time with online classes that there are three essential aspects to this type of learning: consistency, environment, and focus. With these points in mind, you can better navigate elearning and incorporate it into your life. So, how do you go about that?

Be Consistent

1. Try to follow a routine
Determine what time you will start on your schoolwork. Try to stick with this time every day. If your class begins at 10 AM, try to be ready to work by 10 AM every day. If your classes end at 3, schedule your work time after that. Know what you need to do and prepare to get it done.

Designate time for each of your courses. Think, “I have this [class] at [time]. When can I complete the homework?” Try to get the work done as soon as you can – don’t procrastinate. If you wait to complete your work, it will pile up and become a hindrance. You can designate an hour a day for each course’s work or even a day a week to each class.

Make time for meals. A healthy eating schedule will keep your body’s energy up to work. Find 30-60 minutes between class and study time for lunch. Take your lunch break around the same time every day, if possible.

Set alarms! Watching the clock is discouraging and stressful. Not to mention, it’s easy to forget about the time when you’re deep in focus—set alarms for breaks, lunch, subject changes, and so on.

Here are some free scheduling and time management resources to get a jump start on being consistent: 

  • Microsoft To-Do – A smart daily planner for your personalized lists
  • Todoist – A helpful task manager to sort your work and projects
  • Google Calendar – An easy scheduling tool for appointment and event planning, reminders, and goal setting.

2. Establish a workspace
Choose a dedicated space. Having this space to work in will ease the transition from relaxation to work and will train your brain to understand that workspace = working.

Keep work and relaxation separate. Establishing a study space is key to cementing your mind space for tasks. If you work in the same place you relax, getting into the mindset to work can be difficult. Moreover, you might feel the stress that comes with working while trying to relax.

Study where you like. There is no “best place” to study. You can study in your room, the living room, the dining table, etc. Once we’re allowed outside again,  libraries, cafes, and parks work just as well (given the proper safety precautions are followed). It’s not about where you work, but what you do to create the optimal learning environment.

TIP: For more on how to establish a study space,  check out  @collegeinfogeek’s blog post: https://collegeinfogeek.com/create-study-space/

Set the Scene

1. Remove distractions
Minimize interruptions. Whether it’s your phone or your pets, do what you can to reduce their distraction level. Silence your texts, leave your pets in another room, let the people you live with know not to disturb you. Make your work your primary focus. If you have trouble staying off your phone, set screen time on your phone to limit the use of distracting apps.

TIP: Consider setting up screen time monitoring on your mobile device.

Here’s how:

iPhone Screen time

Android Screen time

Complete other tasks beforehand. Before starting your work on your online classes, finish chores, fun errands, and avoid making disruptive plans. You can even set aside to complete these other tasks later. Stopping halfway through working because you forgot to wash the dishes or walk the dog is a slippery slope to leaving your work incomplete. It’s easy to find reasons to get off task, but try not to throw off your study groove!

Remember: you know yourself better than others. During your study time, try to do what’s best for you. What do you think will distract you? What do you think will help you? Distractions and aids are different for everyone, so don’t feel the need to conform to one idea of studying. Be honest with yourself about what will increase your productivity and what will not.

2. Have easy access to everything you need before you start
Determine what you need for your task. Think about your methods of studying. Use a consistent and reliable means of studying, whether it’s your computer or handwritten notes, physical textbooks, or ebooks. Have organization tools to keep you organized, and aids to improve your focus and memory. 

Lay out all of your materials. How can you effectively organize your workspace? Be conscious of which hand is your dominant hand. Have any flashcards or notes at hand. If you’re anything like me (easily distracted) untangle your earbuds and bookmark websites for when you need them.  Keep your space neat and orderly.

3. Set Goals
Determine what you want to achieve. Do you want to take thorough notes for your classes? Finish that essay you’ve been working on? Set goals for what you need to or would like to accomplish, but be realistic. SMART Goals are an excellent example of goal setting. SMART Goals are “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound” goals.

Ex:

  • Goal: Complete my project.
  • SMART Goal: Within two weeks,  I will work to finish a Slides presentation on The Iliad by Homer for my Lit class.

TIP: Ready to create your own SMART goals? Check out this resource.

Recognize your achievements. Don’t dwell on what you couldn’t do. Instead, focus on what you’ve accomplished and make a plan to try again with things that didn’t work out. Big or small, your achievements are worth recognition.

Reward yourself. Rewards can push you toward your goals as a means of motivation. When you set goals, make sure the rewards match.

  • Ex 1: Your assigned reading can be worth a fifteen-minute break. 
  • Ex 2: Finishing the work for one class can be worth one episode of your favorite show.

Get To It – Skills Needed for Online Learning

1. Taking an Active Role
Take notes. Notes reinforce what you’ve learned and help make sense of information. Note-taking can provide breakthroughs and better memory recall in connection to your topic.

TIP: Wondering how to take effective class notes? Check out @collegeinfogeek’s ideas on note-taking here.

Ask questions. Whether it’s asking your professor or the internet, asking questions is vital to your understanding. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you become lost or just curious.

Connect with other students. Your fellow students can offer insight into your lessons and exchange points with you. A different perspective can change how you view a topic and enlighten you on points you may have missed.

2. Review
Re-read your lesson materials. Powerpoints and textbooks might seem boring, but going over them for a second or even third time can only increase your understanding of the subject. Re-writing and re-organizing notes can make them clearer and help with memorization. It also gives you time to write notes on points you remember from class as well as questions and ideas.

3. Study Aids
Take time to make or find aids and tools that will assist with your learning. Flashcards, online quizzes, post-it notes, and audiobooks are all examples of study aids. Having the online learning tools at your disposal to absorb content effectively can only make studying easier. Choose study aids that will benefit you. Not all aids work for everyone, so experiment with them and use the best fits.

TIP: There are lots of FREE study tools out there. Try out some of these user-friendly study resources: 

  • Quizlet – Flashcards, quizzes, and memory games, Quizlet is a favorite online learning game among students.
  • Padlet – Mind maps, timelines, and collages for easy organization of ideas of resources.
  • Grammarly – A writing tool that corrects grammar and critiques work.

5. Breaks
Find time for a break. Between classes, have a quick snack, take a moment to think and review, you can even nap. Give yourself time to absorb what you’ve learned and recharge before your next class or task.

When studying, try to take a short break every 20-40 minutes. Most small to medium tasks can be accomplished in this 20-40 minute window, and the break gives you a chance to step back and review what you’ve done or just take a breather.

Short breaks are best at 5-15 minutes. Extended breaks can be 25+ minutes, but are less frequent given their length. Some students use their break time productively by finishing other tasks, while others use breaks as downtime to rest and recharge. How you use your breaks is up to you!

Online education doesn’t have to feel like an impossible task. The right routine, space, and tools can be a simple and accessible way to learn. With incorporating some of these successful qualities of an online student, you might even find elearning preferable to on-site learning. Just know that it is possible. Remember, 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

#MyStudyBuddy Photo Contest Winners

And, Our Furry Winner is…

As many of you know, a few weeks ago, eCampus.com kicked off its first-ever #MyStudyBuddy Facebook Photo Contest which asked people to share a selfie of their furry, scaly, fuzzy or feathery best friend helping them get through remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wow! You guys blew the roof off of this coronavirus quarantine distraction! We can’t tell you how much fun it was to see all your outstanding pet photos. (You should head over to our Facebook page and take a look!) We are happy to announce we had 80 adorable entries! 

From dogs to cats, a ferret, bunnies, and a bird, we saw a great cross-section of the animal kingdom represented and we wish we could have picked all of them as winners. One thing is certain – based on the pictures, the number of entries and the popularity of our contest, animals are such an important part of our lives.

And now to show off our five winners ($50 eCampus.com gift card), including our grand prize winner who won a $50 eCampus.com gift card in addition to a $250 Visa gift card…

We appreciate everyone who entered the #MyStudyBuddy Photo Contest. To check out all the entries, jump over to our Facebook page – https://bit.ly/MyStudyBuddy

Be sure to Like and Follow our page while you’re there – you never know when our next big giveaway is going to be!

Prefer Instagram? Twitter? We hang out there, too! Connect with us for great savings on textbooks and a few laughs along the way. 

Six Ways to Make the Most of the COVID-19 Quarantine with Your Pets + Win Prizes!

During these unconventional times, your study group probably looks a lot different. The guy sitting next to you used to have two legs, a beard and glasses; now he has four legs, loves to have his belly rubbed and barks when you ask him a question.

Your other study partner always took great notes and loved to wear her favorite blue cardigan; now she curls up by you on the couch and purrs while you read chapter 10 in your Economics book.

With many students learning from home right now, our furry (feathery, scaly or fuzzy) friends have become our lab partners and study buddies in our new online learning environments.

Whether you own a dog, cat, bunny, bird, snake or some other kind of pet, they’ve been there for you through this time of social distancing, remote learning and the overall unknown. Our “four-legged” friends offer a sense of comfort, warmth, love and normalcy when almost nothing else around us does. 

They may not understand why “mommy” and/or “daddy” are home way more than normal, but you can be sure they are living their best life right now. In addition to including them in your daily studies, we wanted to share some of our favorite ideas for passing the time with your pets.  

Here are six fun ways to involve your pet in your social distancing experience (and a BONUS at the end you don’t want to miss!)

  • TOYS!! Make a toy out of an old t-shirt or something else just lying around your house. They can chase or tug on it to chase away some boredom.
  • Teach them a trick – roll-over, jump, fetch…the sky’s the limit! Check out YouTube and Zak George for an assist.
  • Did someone say spa day?!?!! Treat your special buddy to an at-home manicure, grooming, and bath.
  • Make up songs for or about your furry friend. Exercise your creativity and your vocal cords and just have some fun making up songs. You never know, they may just join in and sing along.
  • Strike a yoga/doga pose. This can be a stressful time for people, but that stress can also rub off on our furry friends. Yoga can help relieve your stress and possibly your pet’s stress, too; have fun together.
  • Have a pet photoshoot! There’s no better time to make some lasting memories than now. 

But wait, there’s more!

How about a FACEBOOK PHOTO CONTEST with $500 in prizes?

eCampus.com wants to celebrate your new study buddies!  Enter our Facebook Photo Contest by sharing a selfie with your pet studying from home with the hashtag #MyStudyBuddy. Let’s have some fun together. Here’s how:

 eCampus.com Facebook #MyStudyBuddy Photo Contest

  1. Snap a pic of you and your furry friend studying and join us HERE
  2. Include a short caption, tag us (@ecampusdotcom) and hashtag #MyStudyBuddy
  3. Share the post and encourage your friends and family to vote by liking your comment. Voting ends at 11:59 pm ET, May 8, 2020.

The top 5 most liked pics will win $50 eCampus.com gift cards and will be eligible for the Grand Prize of a $250 Visa Gift Card. You can find more information and full contest rules via our Facebook page.

So, now’s the time to get snappin’ and share your pic! We want to see all those cute animals. They bring joy to you during these uncertain times so share the love!

And just in case you’re looking to get rid of those books at the end of the semester, or need new ones, eCampus.com has you covered! We know it’s a weird time, but we’re open and here for you! Sell your textbooks back for cash 24/7 regardless of where you purchased them.

Have other ideas on how to connect with your pets during the COVID-19 quarantine? Share them now on social by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!