Living Off-Campus During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered a number of official statements on how to best protect yourself, your family, friends, and your roommates. For those who live in buildings with common spaces, especially apartment dwellers, keeping safe and practicing prevention habits is a bit more difficult.
Here are all the tips, suggestions and instructions straight from the CDC just for renters and apartment tenants.
To Keep Yourself Safe
- Wash your hands often
Wash your hands after you touch another person or a common surface. Wash your hands before and after you touch or prepare food. Wash your hands after using the restroom. Wash your hands after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose. Wash your hands when you get home from being out.
- Avoid close contact with others, especially people who are sick
Since you never know who is sick, minimize contact in general. Try to avoid touching common surfaces others touch in public places and in your apartment building or common areas as best you can.
- Avoid touching your face
No matter how hard you try, you’re going to touch unsanitary surfaces or people. To prevent infecting yourself, do your best to refrain from touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as these are the main entry points for disease.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Wear a face mask
You should treat all common spaces in your apartment complex as a public place. Laundry rooms, work out facilities, and other shared spaces need to be under the assumption it has not been clean.
- Clean and disinfect
Keep your apartment clean! Clean regularly and sanitize often using items like Lysol spray and Clorox wipes on “high touch” surfaces including countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, nightstands, bathroom fixtures, toilets, refrigerator handles, kitchen faucets, light switches, TV remotes, cell phones, computer keyboards and tablets.
- Stock up! (but don’t hoard)
It is possible you may be quarantined in your apartment. For that scenario, which shouldn’t last longer than two weeks, you should stock up on a few basic items:
- Non-perishable items: canned meat, fish, beans, soups, broths, canned fruits and vegetables
- Ready to serve items: peanut butter, jelly, crackers, nuts, trail mix, dried fruits and granola bars
- Beverages: bottled water and fluids like Pedialyte or Gatorade
- Toiletries: Toothpaste, toilet paper, tissues, feminine supplies, laundry detergent and disinfectant
- Medicine: over-the-counter cold and flu medicines and any refills of prescriptions
- Cleaning supplies: hand sanitizer, disinfectant, Lysol spray/wipes, bleach
- Carry hand sanitizer everywhere.
Most shared areas do not have sinks to wash in, so you should make sure your sanitizing your hands after touching shared surfaces such as mailboxes and the front desk.