DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is scheduled to start college this fall at a local university, but we aren’t sure what is going to happen next. He is not having a graduation from high school because there can’t be any social gatherings. Now we wonder if he will actually go to college. Fall is right around the corner. I can’t imagine that they will figure out safe distancing in the classroom by then. Should we let him defer a year? Even with that, though, what will he do? He’s a young man, and he needs structure and direction. I don’t know how to guide him right now. -- College-Bound
DEAR COLLEGE-BOUND: Contact your son’s college. The admissions office is a good place to start. Do your best to get a human on the phone. This could be difficult, as most people are not going in to work. If you get an automated system, leave specific messages asking for someone to call you back. Listen to the prompts as there may also be messages about how classes will begin in the fall. Some schools have already declared that they will do virtual classes, using technology to engage students from a distance. Other schools are still figuring out if there is a way for students to be together.
At the same time, look around in your community for opportunities for your son, for internships or jobs. If he can balance some amount of work that will require structure with a virtual academic life, this may provide the stimulation needed for him to stay focused.