The decision by The College of Saint Rose to move classes online from March 16 to March 27 as a precautionary measure in light of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic may have caused students some anxiety as they’ve had to make arrangements, say goodbye (at least for now) to friends, and consider taking courses in a way they hadn’t planned. And there were lots of concerns about what the shift meant, which we’ve answered in these FAQs.
But we also wanted to help students deal with their emotions as they worked out the logistics of these measures. The Saint Rose Counseling Center offers the following advice, which they will also share with The Chronicle, the student newspaper.
About the Virus
Coronavirus or COVID-19 has been making the news since December 2019. The virus started in Wuhan providence in China and has spread to all continents except Antarctica. It has become the No. 1 news story on every news outlet around the world. While it is important for the media to keep us updated, it can also cause a lot of anxiety. The truth about the disease can help reduce some of the anxiety and misinformation.
What makes Coronavirus so scary?
- It is a brand-new virus, so nobody’s immune system has seen it before.
- We don’t yet have a vaccine for it, or any treatment.
- New things make people scared.
What is the reality of the disease?
- It spreads just like a cold or the seasonal flu – all these germs spread from people coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose, and from the virus living on surfaces.
- Most people that have gotten the virus have a mild case and have gotten better.
- Those that have died tend to be over 70 and/or have underlying health conditions.
Why have the number of cases jumped so rapidly?
- One of the reasons is testing. It wasn’t until early March that the United Stated began widespread testing of the virus. That means the numbers have jumped because the tests are now available. It means we are beginning to see how many cases have been in the United States.
- You also come down with symptoms two to 14 days after you have been exposed to the virus.
Where should I look for information?
- Look at reliable sources of information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a great source of information that is usually the source of information for journalists. It is the government’s leading health agency.
- Campus information can be found on the Saint Rose website, specifically a resource page dedicated to COVID-19 with FAQs. Also look for updates in your @strose email.
What is the most effective way to stay safe?
- Wash your hands with soap and water:
- Wet your hands.
- Apply soap.
- Rub hands with soap for 20 seconds (long enough to sing the chorus of many of your favorite songs twice or “Happy Birthday” twice).
- Rinse thoroughly. (Don’t touch the faucet as you rinse or after).
- And make sure to dry completely with a paper towel or hand dryer. (Wet hands pick up all types of germs faster.)
- Keep your hands away from your face. COVID-19, the seasonal flu, and the common cold get into your system by touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Disinfect your electronics screens and keyboards – especially your cellphone that goes with you everywhere and sits on all kinds of surfaces that others have touched.
Do masks work?
- Masks should only be worn by those who are sick when they are in public (like a doctor’s office).
- A mask will not prevent you from getting sick, but it helps prevent others from getting sick from you.
What if I think I have Coronavirus?
- Check your symptoms for:
- High fever
- Shortness of breath
- If you are sick, stay home – don’t go to class or work.
- Contact your healthcare provider – call ahead and ask about your symptoms.
How to Manage Your Emotions
- Though the College campus is moving instruction online until March 27 (beyond that to be determined) and asking as many students as possible to move out of the residence halls, there is a degree of flexibility in regards to housing, classes, and graduation. Students with insecure housing or special circumstances may apply to remain on campus, classes will continue, and people will still graduate.
- Some students may be upset and even disappointed that this disrupts activities and events they may have been looking forward to, such as sports, parties, or even the simple ability to hang out with friends on campus. Looking for the positive can be a powerful way to manage upsetting events, though it may be difficult at times.
- As scary as this virus can be, the anxiety brought on by the sudden news of returning home can be even more scary – if you let it overwhelm you. Remember that this situation is temporary, take care of yourself, and most importantly, don’t panic.
Need to Talk?
If you would like to discuss anxiety over news reports, or if you want to talk about anything, reach out to the Counseling Center. Come see us at 441 Western Avenue for an initial screening session. We also have evening hours! We are open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you are among the majority of our students who are returning home due to the precautions the College is putting in place to reduce the chance of transmission of the virus to our campus population, you can still access support from the Counseling Center. We are available by phone to provide consultation and support. Please call 518.454.5200 with any questions. Follow us on Instagram @csrcounselingctr.