DENVER (KDVR) — As tens of thousands of Colorado parents get ready to welcome their kids home from college for the holidays, they’re doing so with caution.
Unlike extended family or friends, most college kids have no other options or places to go this Thanksgiving.
While state and public health officials have urged people not to travel for the upcoming holidays due to a surge in COVID cases, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) never really issued any specific guidance related to how college students should handle holiday breaks.
“This whole semester this year has been really, really different,” said Dr. Kristin Orlowski, a licensed Psychologist with UCHealth.
Colorado is home to more than 375,000 college students.
Many of them have already started returning home to anxious parents.
Denver-area professionals suggest setting some ground rules.
“I would say given the risk level I would say that’s pretty important,” Dr. Orlowski said.
Experts at UCHealth, as well as other health professionals, say ground rules some parents are putting in place include the following:
Limiting or preventing in-person socializing with anyone outside the immediate household.
If you do allow a child’s friend over, you could require them to wear a mask inside your home.
You could also ask them to only socialize outside, like in the backyard near a fire pit.
Experts also suggest asking your kid to quarantine for two weeks prior to them coming home; or once they arrive home.
“Just take the extra precautions. If your child needs to isolate a little bit before leaving, if that needs to happen – or – once they come home they need to isolate for a few days to make sure no one gets sick – then do that. But then make sure you’re really conscious and effortful afterwards about engaging with each other and really feeling more emotionally connected after that point,” Dr. Orlowski said.
Having that emotional connection is critical, experts said, given how stress and anxiety levels among college students are currently at an all-time high.