Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Son’s College Plans Remain in Flux

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.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I began dating a guy at the end of last year, and it started off great. We would see each other every weekend. Since quarantine, we have only talked on the phone. That is wearing on us now. He lives about an hour away, and while he could come to visit, we are trying to follow stay-at-home orders. I want to be more flexible now. Each of us has stayed at home for all of these weeks, only venturing out to go to the grocery store. Do you think it would be OK for us to get together in person? -- Date Night

DEAR DATE NIGHT: The CDC guidelines do not say that you cannot be in anyone’s company ever. But you do have to take precautions. You can choose to see each other, but keep your distance and wear a mask. As hard as it may be, do not touch each other. Definitely do not kiss each other. But you could take a walk together. You can sit in your living room across from each other and talk. You can even share a meal if you sit 6 feet apart while you are eating. It is possible to be in each other’s company if you are vigilant about staying safe.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)