"Hey mom, did you get the e-mail?".

As everyone else in Minnesota and Wisconsin were watching the big football game on Sunday, I was reading news stories of what was happening in La Crosse and also experiencing it first-hand as a mom.  My child is there and in the middle of this story and is now sheltering in place for 2 weeks in her dorm at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse due to COVID-19 cases on campus.

This past week, I've had all of the emotions of a mom who just sent her kid off to college for the first time.  I just dropped her off a week ago and I'm feeling all of the feels.  The roller coaster of emotions is one thing and the empty feeling in the house is another.  But, I've looked and there are ZERO  tips written on how to send your child off to college for the first time in the middle of a pandemic.  Zero.  (FYI - check on your friends who just sent their kids off to college.  We are NOT fine.)

I've been watching the dashboard on the website for the college and keeping tabs on the numbers of COVID-19 cases and to be honest, I knew that they would increase once college started.  I just didn't anticipate the cases to go up as fast as they did.  There are 140 spaces available for kids who need to quarantine and right now, according to the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse website, 98 of those are filled right now and the students have only been in class for 4 days.

On Sunday, just after noon, my daughter called me and asked if I had received the latest e-mail from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.  One thing that you may not know when you are the parent of a college student is this - you don't get all the info immediately.  My child is also a legal adult so there's that aspect but to answer her question, no, I didn't get the latest e-mail.

I did see the latest Tik Tok video of a University of Wisconsin La Crosse student who was "sheltering in place" already in one of the dorms who complained about the meals he received.  I was in the middle of reading that little piece of info when my daughter called me and said, "Hey Mom, did you get the e-mail?  I have to shelter in place for 2 weeks starting at 5pm today.  What should I do?  Come home or should I stay?"

I'll be honest, I have absolutely zero idea what the right answer is to that question.

Here's what I do know:

  • My child is one of the many sheltering in place at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, but, a lot of parents are going through this same scenario right now with their child, all over the country...or they could be very soon.
  • Everyone is going to have a different opinion on what the best thing is for their child - stay on campus or go home.  That is ok.
  • Saying "I support you" is one of the best things you can do for a parent and the student.
  • The schools are doing the best they can in a situation that is extremely fluid and is changing every second of the day.
  • At any moment of the day or night, I could be getting a phone call that says, "Mom, I don't feel good and need you to come get me."

I also know that we have a care package for my baby girl that is sitting on the table.  But, since there is zero mail until this is all over, we will be eating her snacks.  #jk  Pretty sure we will be delivering these to her in person at 5pm on Sunday, September 27th.

To all the college kids out there, be safe and be smart...and that includes being smart about what you post online.  Future employers are going to be looking at your online profiles to see how you handled this and your Tik Tok video could make or break that decision.

To all the parents of college students out there...I understand all of your feelings.  Big virtual hugs for you.

To the staff at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse...thank you.  Your communication has been great and as a parent who is doing this for the first time ever, I truly appreciate all the work you are doing and the many, many hours you are putting in to help keep the students safe, including my baby girl.

What advice would you give to college students right now?  Let me know and send me a message on my Facebook page - Jessica On The Radio or on Instagram at Jessica On The Radio.

Listen to Jessica Williams weekdays from 6 am until 10 am on Y105FM's Early Morning Show with James Rabe and Jessica Williams.