Young adults at college this fall would be wise to have a “go bag” of essentials prepared just in case they need to leave in a hurry, which is something that many students experienced last spring when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“I would suggest either putting together a COVID-19 bag or having a handy checklist so they can throw together a bag in minutes and feel more comfortable they aren’t forgetting anything,” said Dr. Jill Grimes, author of “The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook.” “COVID-19 doesn’t typically hit you out of the blue, so I think for most students, having a list is enough until they start having symptoms.

“The most important items that people forget when they arrive at a student health center are their insurance card and charging devices for their electronics. Be sure to include your first aid kit, which should have all of your symptomatic over-the-counter medications like cough drops, Tylenol and Advil,” Grimes said.

Add all prescription medications and prescription glasses and/or contacts. Take photos of the front and back of your insurance card and store on your phone, Grimes said.

“If a student is leaving campus because they are sick, prepare by making sure you take your go bag plus all your classroom necessities including books, notebooks, sketchbooks, art supplies, etc. Note that you might not feel well enough to do school work now, but you likely will long before your quarantine is done,” she said.

If a student is leaving campus because a school is closing the dorm or campus, all the immediate necessities mentioned above are necessary, but then the work begins, especially for students who are flying home, Grimes said.

If a student is leaving campus because a school is closing the dorm or campus, all the immediate necessities mentioned above are necessary, but then the work begins, especially for students who are flying home, Grimes said.

Sort out what needs to be saved and stored, such as personal photos and other treasures; expensive must-have items like tower fans, air filters, bed mattress toppers,
fridges and microwaves; clothing and shoes, she said. More generic items such as hampers, cleaning supplies or inexpensive comforters, towels and bedding are not likely worth the cost of storage, said Grimes, who knows from experience.

“Last year, when our daughter had to clear out of the dorm after spring break, we simply packed up everything for storage, and now are paying far more than the
net worth of what we are storing because of the extended break from campus life,” she said. “Take home message here: This year, consider scaling down what you take to campus considerably.”

As during regular times, Grimes also recommends that students come to school with a first aid kit. 

CHECKLIST FOR STUDENTS AT COLLEGE:
Chargers for all devices
Identification
Health insurance card
Wallet
Two changes of clothes
Extra socks and underwear
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Hairbrush/comb
Deodorant
Medications/vitamins
Prescription glasses
Razor
Toiletries
Face mask
Nonperishable snacks
Class supplies
Comfort items