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Colleges and Asymptomatic Transmission: How to Handle This?

Colleges and Asymptomatic Transmission: How to Handle This?

It’s the latest development in the struggle against Covid. Perhaps you have seen it on the news: coronavirus is affecting college students.

In fact, some schools have already experienced severe outbreaks.

What if you or your child attends college right now? How can this quandary be managed without a maelstrom of anxiety and helpless feelings?

It seems that one of two things has been happening - depending on the college. In some cases, students have been sent home. In other cases, students have been told to quarantine in dormitories on campus. Let’s take a look at each scenario and examine healthy ways to cope.

Scenario 1: Students are sent home.

In this scenario, it is all about managing your household safety measures. Perhaps a homeward student seems healthy enough, but in this case, the danger is all about asymptomatic spread. 

While scientists and doctors have not yet fleshed out the details, we can be certain that some degree of asymptomatic transmission occurs with coronavirus. Therefore most anxiety will be concerned with grandparents, older parents, and susceptible siblings who may contract the virus unwittingly from the returning college student.

A firm set of guidelines should be laid out for everyone in the house - not just a returning student. After all, anyone could get sick!

Before returning home, the student should be tested for coronavirus. This will eliminate the fear that they might bring it to the family. However, once settled in, a policy of social distancing and no parties should be adhered to. This may be supported by self-control, external control (rules, parental guidance, etc.), and a sense of compassion for loved ones and the community.

Everyone’s anxiety will be eased.

Scenario 2: Quarantine on Campus

Some health and government officials have expressed support for keeping students quarantined on campus to cut off possible outbreaks into various communities. Some college campuses have been going this route to protect students’ families and the local community from asymptomatic transmission.

In this scenario, a lot more reliance is placed on external controls set by the school and self-motivated compassion on the part of the student. Since most young people who become infected don’t suffer as grievous consequences as the older population, many see this as a reasonable solution. However, the enforcement of school guidelines and the vigilance of students plays a key role in soothing the fears of someone isolated on campus for 14 days or more.

In either case, both a willingness to follow precautionary measures and a healthy sense of compassion go a long way towards keeping anxiety at bay. Indeed we can protect ourselves, our loved ones, and the community.

If this issue or any other issue you are facing is causing severe mental health distress, please reach out. Bregman Medical Group offers online mental health treatment anywhere in the country, right to your device! Just schedule an appointment online at or call 305-740-3340.

By BregmanMD | December 24, 2020 | Mental Health

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