For many, heading off to college in the fall is a mixture of expectation and trepidation. Students look forward to having fun and learning, of course. But many also worry about how they will do in their studies and other endeavors. If anything, college students’ parents fret even more, especially if this is the first time their child has been away from home.
Thanks to COVID-19, this academic year gives everyone an extra dose of fear and uncertainty. No one wants to get infected, so many campuses aren’t fully open this fall. Some are going entirely online, while others are offering a hybrid mixture of online and in-person classes.
It’s now later in the fall, and many students are settling into their schedules. But as school becomes more routine, it’s important to make sure safety is a part of that.
This year’s crop of college students faces even more challenging safety and security concerns than their preceding generations. No worries. SABRE is here to help. No matter whether you’re a student, a parent or a friend, here are some tips to keep college and university students safe wherever and however they are attending college this year.
Homework at Home - Home Safety
Many college students are attending school online this year. That means they can earn college credits anywhere they have an internet connection, whether at their own home in their college town or in their parents’ home. Wherever they are studying, college students and those they live with can take a few simple steps to improve home safety.
Whether they’re living at home or on their own, college students should use basic common sense for staying safe at home. This boils down to some time-honored practices. Keep the doors and windows locked when you are away and when you are home alone. Leave a light or TV on at night.
Certain types of hardware can also protect students at home. Alarms can deter intruders and frighten off burglars. For those on a budget, as many college students are, standalone alarms are a good choice. Door security bars can add an extra level of safety in a house, apartment or dorm room.
Commuting or Hybrid – Car Safety and Safe Escape
Some colleges and universities are employing hybrid schedules, offering in-person as well as online classes. For students, this requires some commuting, whether in a car or truck, on a bike, on foot or via public transportation. However they travel, when out in public, students will need to be prepared for the unexpected.
In a vehicle, pepper spray with a detachable, quick-release key ring is a smart choice. This allows drivers to quickly disconnect their pepper spray from their key ring and deploy it to fend of attackers. Because it’s on their key ring, they will always have it available outside their vehicles as well as while driving.
For more general use, such as walking, biking or riding the bus, a variety of pepper sprays and pepper gels are available. Many of these come in compact canisters that are inconspicuous and easily portable.
In the Classroom
Some colleges and universities are still offering traditional in-class lectures and seminars this year, although they may adopt social distancing practices in classrooms to guard against the spread of coronavirus. It’s smart for students to wear a mask in class, even if campus regulations don’t require it. Even so, many campuses and states mandate wearing masks indoors.
Some colleges and universities prohibit pepper products in the classroom. Check campus safety restrictions beforehand if you want to carry it there.
Of course, it’s still OK to have personal alarms. These are a great idea inside or outside the classroom. They will set off a shrill alarm when activated. That might scare off an attacker. In addition, it will summon help from folks nearby.
One of the joys of attending college in person is the close network of lifelong friends students can develop there. No matter where students are, whether on campus or at home, it’s important to stay connected. That’s critical for their physical well-being as well as their emotional health.
An intelligent way to stay connected while protecting yourself is to carry smart pepper spray. This exciting new development links the self-defense spray via a personal safety app that will automatically signal a preselected group of friends and family when the pepper spray has been deployed.
Most of these alarms also can be triggered manually by pressing an in-app button. Some apps can be linked to paid subscription services that will immediately notify first responders in the event of an emergency.
Outside the Classroom – Running, Biking and Working Out
College isn’t just about studying. Or socializing, for that matter.
In these stressful times, it’s more important than ever to get out and exercise. That’s healthy for the brain as well as the body.
Running into trouble on a jogging path can defeat that purpose, however. Fortunately, it’s possible for students to defend their freedom to move.
Many types of pepper spray are available for runners, bikers and everyone else who likes to get out and move in the fresh air. These canisters are lightweight and easy to carry. Carrying options include armbands, wristbands, hand straps and bike frame straps.