College students are scheduled to resume classes this fall, and whether classes will be online or in-person is unknown for most colleges. But some colleges will likely open, and some students have anxiety about returning to campus.

“I believe that we should do the best that we can to re-open schools and re-open colleges but that has to be a personal choice made by the students and their parents,” said ‘America’s Psychologist’ Dr. Jeff Gardere. “I don’t believe that the federal government should be making these decisions especially since we’re not getting enough clear messages and procedures.”

Chief Medical Officer of The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dr. Ken Duckworth, believes many college campuses will re-open but some colleges in high-risk areas like Florida State University will not re-open. If students are deciding whether to do online classes or to return to campus he recommends thinking about your tolerance of risks, your level of anxiety, the planning you will make to reduce the risk and having a conversation with your family. For instance, reviewing the people in your life that have medical vulnerability like a grandparent in their 80s or a family member enduring chemotherapy.

For students who are deciding to return to campus, Dr. Duckworth suggests engaging with your college to understand their rules, gather science-based information, find out how bad the virus rate is in your community and be in contact with administrators from your universities. 

According to Active Minds an organization dedicated to raising mental health awareness among college students, this past spring semester was challenging for some. Active Minds surveyed 2,086 college students regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health in April 2020. Eighty percent of college students report that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health and 1in 5 college students say their mental health has significantly worsened.

“The best way to combat that anxiety is to have some control over our lives by following the proper procedures of protection and behavior during COVID-19,” said Dr. Gardere. “There are no absolutes but that should reduce some of that anxiety.”

Officials say that people must follow the procedures of protection by washing your hands, wearing masks and remaining six feet apart––all can reduce some anxiety. Exercising, sleeping, knowing cognitive-behavioral principles and having mental health support are also helpful. One of the great things about college is there’s an opportunity to meet new people and there are hundreds of people at your college experiencing similar emotions and a difference is made if you do it together with others.