SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Many colleges and universities across the country and in the Bay State are still trying to fine-tune their fall plans amid COVID-19 concerns.

For college-bound students and their families, it can be a daunting time of uncertainty.

No matter which way you look at it, college life will simply not be the same this fall. Many schools are still working out details, and many students are still unsure of what kind of experience they'll have in this world of COVID-19.

Baystate Medical Center Infectious Disease Doctor Armando Paez said start by asking questions.

"I think the most important question is what is the plan of the school," Paez said.

For example, what is the COVID-19 testing plan? What happens in the event of an outbreak? What cleaning and disinfecting procedures are in place for classrooms, toilets, dorms, and common areas on campus.

Let's face it, most dorm rooms are not exactly spacious.

Paez said to keep a supply of hand sanitizers, do not share things like toiletries or food, but once at school, your roommate becomes your COVID-19 family...so be respectful.

"I would consider it just like a household, you're part of a family, you should consider your roommate as part of the household, again, taking care of each other," Paez explained.

He told Western Mass News, no one expects college students to stay in on Saturday nights, but be smart about how you socialize and avoid large gatherings.

"I don't recommend that at this time, you know there have been reports of outbreaks at fraternity and sorority parties, and we know that for a fact," Paez noted.

In a social situation, look around...

"If everyone’s not practicing social distancing and not wearing a face covering that’s something you have to be aware of and protect yourself," she said. "It's just being aware of your surroundings."

Even if your school's dining hall is opening for seating, opt for taking out or alfresco.

"When you eat, of course, you remove the face covering and your breath, and you talk, and that's a potential way for the virus to be spread," Paez explained.

Also, remember...

"Many colleges and universities across the country and here in the Bay State are still trying to fine-tune their fall plans amid COVID-19 concerns. For college-bound students and their families, it can be a daunting time of uncertainty," Paez noted.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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