Even though I was excited to get back to campus, the thought of commuting over an hour a day during a pandemic terrified me. I live with immune-compromised individuals and the last thing I want to do is bring the virus home with me. So, before we made our return to campus, I came up with a few ways to ensure I would be able to make it to campus and home safely, reduce the risk and put my mind at ease.
1. Checking Safety Guidelines and Service Updates
In order to be sureI could commute as normal — safely, I went over the safety measures that each transit service I use have put in place. I primarily use the GO Train and the TTC Subway – so these were the most important to me.
The GO Train has a mandatory face mask policy, social distance measures and enhanced cleaning and sanitation on their trains. After ensuring these, their additional safety measures, and their services updates (more frequent trains, more train-cars, etc), I felt a lot more comfortable heading back to the city.
The TTC also has a mandatory face mask policy, and increase social distance measures put in place. You can read more about their safety guidelines here, and look out for blocked-off seating like in the picture one above.
2. Creating a COVID Kit
When I am commuting, I often have to two take two if not three transit services (Brampton Transit, GO Transit and the TTC), and that can be upwards of 1.5 hours of commuting. So I have some items I keep with me in case.
Hand sanitizer in order to ensure I’m keeping my hands clean throughout the day, disposable masks in case something happens to the one I’m wearing (like the ear-band snaps while you’re walking and you have no idea how it happened), disinfectant wipes I keep in case I decide to work from a coffee shop near campus or just need the reassurance, and tissues because it’s allergy season. The hand cream and lip oil are definitely not for everyone, I find the alcohol in the hand sanitizers make my hands dry after a long day and wearing masks for 6 hours plus makes my lips feel chapped.
To store them, I just throw them in the front pocket of my backpack! Its easy access no matter what mode of transportation I’m on.
3. Deciding if I HAVE to go to campus that day
The final way I’m ensuring my safety is only travelling to campus on the days that require it. I’m currently in the hybrid-model of learning, some classes require us to be on campus and some professors have chosen to continue classes online. If this were first year, I would be taking the train all the time just to get the feel of being at school – however, this year, it’s better to be safe.
I am so excited to be back on campus for my final year, and I know the anxiousness around commuting will slowly dissipate as we get back into it. For now, these are the ways I am making sure I am COVID-safe on my commute and I hope they can help you too!