The coronavirus pandemic left many college students packing and heading home March 2020. Luckily, Ohio University and health officials worked together to allow at least some students to return to campus for the 2021 academic year. One of those students returning is senior resident advisor Abby Cohen. Cohen admits she had mixed feelings: she was excited to see her friends and work again, but was also worried about living and sharing a space with people outside of her family.
“There were some worries but overall more excitement,” Cohen said. “I was worried that housing had the precautions needed and the school was going to take the steps to keep us safe.”
To ease the concerns of students like Cohen, Ohio University established a COVID-19 response. This includes a rating level for COVID-19 in campus dorms, weekly testing and a hotline.
While Zoom and other video contact services have helped people gather, many are still longing for the day they can gather in-person. Cohen, who was on campus during the fall semester, said Housing and Residence life has allowed for more in-person gatherings.
”The majority of our things are still virtual but we are able to do a maximum of 10 people,” Cohen said, “which is nice because there’s a little more of a social environment going on.”
Gathering in-person with social distancing can ease the mental health effects many officials worry about during the pandemic. According to Mayo Clinic, the pandemic can cause stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness. It’s important that everyone finds ways to cope. For Cohen, getting out of her room and interacting with others when possible has been helpful.
“It has been a challenge because it’s so very easy to lock yourself in your room because everything is on your computer,” Cohen said. “But actually making time to see people or making time to go for walks has really helped me stay in touch with people and rejuvenate.”
At Ohio University, Counseling and Psychological Services are open to helping students no matter where they are, via phone. The department also has a list of responses to mental health concerns here.