College, Prepping, and COVID: What Students Should Have, Know and Do

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by Karen Morris

This year our college Freshmen (or Sophomores, Juniors, or even Seniors) are likely to have a radically different college experience than they would have had last year. Preparing your older teen or young 20-something to get ready for college can be an emotional experience for the parents. This year, we’ve got to take other things into consideration before sending them off.

An article on equipping kids for survival preparedness needs while going to college would normally be a totally different conversation. I’ll get to the college emergency basics etc. later, but we need to deal with the elephant in the room first…COVID.

Scrambling…in Central Illinois

My son arrived at his chosen college in Pensacola, Florida on June 5th to start work. July 30th, he got a sore throat and was tested for Covid.

The test came back positive.

We knew this was a possibility, but didn’t EXPECT it to happen. He’s young and healthy. You just don’t think it’s going to happen to YOUR CHILD. At least I didn’t. So we had a conversation with his doctor, and then she called him directly.

Prescriptions had to be filled. A nebulizer had to be shipped. Supplements and teas were sent. We kept in close contact with him several times a day – since he was in isolation and pretty much saw no one. As of today – August 10th, he’s out of isolation, and he returns to work tomorrow.

What are your preventative suggestions?

I wish I would have sent him more supplements. I’m not 100% SURE that I sent him with any supplements at all, but I thought I did. He says if I did, he has no idea where they are. (Insert my audible sigh here.)

Vitamin C: As a baseline, your student should have enough vitamin C to take 1000mg twice a day until Christmas – assuming he or she is coming home for Christmas. Costco has a great vitamin C (1000 mg per tablet, and 500 tablets per bottle) for a wonderful price.

Vitamin D: The second thing I wish I would have sent with him is vitamin D. Vitamin D works more like a hormone than it does a vitamin. This vitamin helps support and bolster your immune system – 5000iu of vitamin D daily would have helped my child stay healthy.

Zinc – At least 30 mg: I also wish I would have sent him with Zinc. I’ve read a pediatrician named Elsa Song who has said, “Zinc + zinc ionophores (compounds that affect the cellular transporters for zinc) have been shown to block SARS-CoV multiplication, which means that they may be able to stop the current circulating SARS-CoV-2 from replication and wreaking havoc in our immune systems.” (I was prescribed zinc a long time ago, but I found that I can get zinc at an amazing price through a company called Life Extension.)

Xlear: The same pediatrician said, ” I believe that one of the MOST preventive things you can do for any viral respiratory illness is to irrigate your, and your children’s, nasal passages with saline or Xlear nasal spray at the end of every day and after any potential exposure (work, school, playgroups, plane travel, etc).”

Foods: Maybe better to be described as drinks. I looked everywhere – okay maybe two different stores in town – to find a specific item that I thought would help him – Breathe Easy Tea. We have used this in the past and since I can’t be there to cook homemade chicken noodle soup for him, this was a close second, but I couldn’t find it!! So I had to go with two back-ups: We sent him two packages of Throat Coat tea since he was saying that his throat was his main complaint. I also sent him peppermint tea since to help open up his airways.

Equipment for Covid: I mailed him a nebulizer because our doctor put him on an inhaled steroid called budesonide. This requires a nebulizer. While I don’t necessarily recommend sending a nebulizer to college with your kids, there are other things that you may need to buy to send with your kids to college.

Masks: You need to find out what policies your kid’s college of choice has in place in regards to masks. I am not in favor of wearing them, but a lot of that is because I can’t breathe in them. My solution for myself – and for my son who will have to wear a mask despite having already contracted Covid – is to use face shields.

What are your tips for prepping and college?

So now that we’ve tackled the elephant together, let’s see if we can make sense of general preparedness when it’s related to your (and my) college student. (If you just came for the Covid portion of this article and you want to know what I’m doing for our family still in Central Illinois? I’ve got an article devoted to that here.)

I don’t know if you’ve ever read Event Horizon or The Jakarta Pandemic/Alex Fletcher Series. Event Horizon is book three in the series. Alex Fletcher’s (the main character) son is at college in Boston, and they live in more rural Maine. Alex takes a trip into the heart of Boston to bring his son and his son’s friend home from college.

As a mom, this is my greatest nightmare. My son is about 900 miles from where we live, and the thought of an EMP or a nuclear attack, while my son is a fourteen-hour (non-stop) drive away, terrifies me! I’m going to level with you. If something REALLY BIG happens while my son is at college, I honestly don’t expect to ever see him again. But I don’t expect something really big to happen, and I trust in the Lord that He’ll keep my son safe.


  • Bug Out Bag: Make sure it is stocked as well as it can be.
  • Knife: Unlike me, he prefers a fixed-blade knife. *His college allows him to carry a knife.
  • Sleeping bag: Rated down to 40 degrees. Living in Pensacola that is sufficient.
  • Small survival kit: This has a lot of the basics including another knife, a flashlight, a compass, a very loud whistle, a survival chain saw, fire starter, tactical (glass breaking) pen, an emergency blanket, swiss card, and survival bracelet.
  • First-Aid kit: Very important whether for the dorm room or if something happens.

RELATED: Building a Better Bug-Out Bag-You’re Not Going on a Fun-Filled Camping Trip

Filtering Water

Making sure he had adequate water was very important. I’ve always used Berkey water bottles for this before, but after reading Coming Home by A American, I was convinced to go a different direction with a water filter. The reason that I purchased this water filter is that it is cleanable and filters the water as it pumps.

My thought process behind this filter is that with a life straw, you can’t carry water with you without contaminating the container.  And if you don’t mind a contaminated container, you may not be able to fit the life straw down into it or it might be too short to reach anything but the top part of the water bottle. After looking at situations from multiple perspectives, it made sense to go ahead and purchase a separate water filter and water container.

RELATED: The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide – Are You Ready for a Long-Term Water Emergency?

Does he have the necessary knowledge and skills?

Who cares what tools you have if you don’t know how to use them, right? So while my son knows how to start a fire and can make a make-shift shelter if need be there are other things that he would need.

I wanted to get him a good guidebook for foraging. Well, unfortunately to this point I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, however, there is a new book that will release in October of this year by Mykel Hawk (Man, Woman, Wild) called Foraging for Survival. I’ve already purchased it, and once it’s actually released, I’ll go through it. I’m sure, it’ll get to my son quickly – and I’ll probably pick up another copy for myself.

Some other books we equipped our son with were: Dave Canterbury’s (Dual Survival) book Bushcraft 101 and The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs.

What if something big happens?

We have had this conversation with my son. Fortunately, I went to college at the same college and still have friends in the area. We visited two of these friends with my son when we were there to drop him off. He has contact information for both of the dad’s. So, if he needed to, he could make it to at least one of the houses of friends.

We don’t think that it’s feasible for him to make an 800-mile journey home with just the items in the pack we provided. Although, sometimes my son is stubborn – I have NO IDEA (looking around innocently) where in the world he gets it from! Anyway, because I know my son, we’ve also provided him with a road map of the eastern United States.

But we didn’t stop there. We marked people that we know (and their addresses) along the way so that he should be able to find shelter. There are some huge gaps, but at least he’ll have something by which to go if he decides he must try to get home.

For your own child – how far away will they be? Do they have a vehicle that they can drive home? Do you want them to stay put? Is there a person in the area that they can stay with until you can get to them? These are conversations that you need to have with your child BEFORE you send them off.

RELATED: Raising Competent Kids in an Incompetent World

What about you?

What items would you send off to college with your child ‘just in case?’ Are there other books you feel are important for them to have that will give your child the ability to make it through a large survival situation?  I’d love to hear! Share your thoughts with us in the comments below so that we can all be better prepared.

About the Author

Karen Morris has survived some life-changing events, like the Ferguson riots, an armed standoff with a knife-wielding man during my family’s time at a local homeschool chess club, and an F-4 tornado, Each of these events taught her a new level of self-sufficiency and preparedness. From there, her journey to self-sufficiency started with food storage and grew beyond her wildest imaginings. Find out more about Karen Morris: Her books:  A Year Without the Grocery Store and A Year Without the Grocery Store Companion Workbook Her website:

College, Prepping, and COVID: What Students Should Have, Know and Do
Karen Morris

About the Author

Karen Morris

Karen Morris has survived some life-changing events, like the Ferguson riots, an armed standoff with a knife-wielding man during my family’s time at a local homeschool chess club, and an F-4 tornado, Each of these events taught her a new level of self-sufficiency and preparedness. From there, her journey to self-sufficiency started with food storage and grew beyond her wildest imaginings. Find out more about Karen Morris: Her books:  A Year Without the Grocery Store and A Year Without the Grocery Store Companion Workbook Her website:

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