Staff Editorial: How to do Parent & Family Weekend right

HN Hoffmann

Halloween is not this weekend’s only big event: Parent & Family Weekend events will take place in the coming days, and that means a large influx of Washington University parents. Students and their visiting families will be around campus and the St. Louis area, and many of these visitors may be in the city for the first time. Even for returning parents, this will be a different kind of Parent & Family Weekend. Whether you’re a visiting family member or a student, here are some things to keep in mind this weekend. 

Masking and COVID-19 prevention policies vary widely throughout the country. Though many of the parents visiting may live in areas that no longer have mask mandates, both St. Louis city and county are still under a mask mandate. WashU is as well, with all visitors required to wear masks indoors and outdoors in addition to socially distancing. Guests must also complete the visitor self-screening each day that they are on campus. 

We recognize that not all parents may want to follow these guidelines. Some people do not believe in the efficacy of masks; many others are simply tired of them; still others are unused to restrictions, coming from a state where they are not in place. Students –– let your visiting relatives know about the expectations both on and off campus. That can be through a phone call or a quick reminder text to bring a mask. In addition, be sure to inform suitemates if your parents are visiting; people have various levels of comfort in interacting with others, especially as COVID-19 remains a concern. 

These requirements shouldn’t be your only considerations this weekend. By visiting WashU, parents and family members aren’t only interacting with students but with the campus and larger St. Louis community as well. Being a mindful visitor includes being a considerate customer to the staff of any restaurants or entertainment venues you visit as well as on-campus dining and retail staff. Businesses around WashU and St. Louis, like the rest of the nation, are currently understaffed as workers nationwide contend with pandemic challenges and inadequate wages. On the customer end, this may manifest in longer lines and wait times, but any frustration regarding these inconveniences doesn’t excuse rude behavior toward (likely underpaid) staff on and around campus. We encourage students and their visiting families to be good customers — shop local, tip well and be patient and understanding as you navigate your weekend.

On an interpersonal level, Parent & Family Weekend is an opportunity to decenter our own preconceptions about our fellow students and their home lives. There’s no set definition of what a family looks like. Students and families alike: Be aware of the assumptions you may be making about your fellow students and their families. Take the opportunity to learn more about the diverse communities of your peers at WashU. This isn’t limited to those who have parents coming, either — if you know your roommate doesn’t have any plans for the weekend, why not invite them out with you and yours? (If you’re looking for somewhere to go, check out our Best of St. Louis issue for a guide to some local destinations outside the WashU bubble.) 

And for those who plan to visit St. Louis this weekend, remember that you are just that — visitors. Whatever you do for Parent & Family Weekend, do it mindfully.

Staff editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of our editorial board members. The editorial board operates independently of our newsroom and includes members of the senior staff. 

Editor-In-Chief: Matthew Friedman

Managing Editors: Jayla Butler, Isabella Neubauer

Senior Forum Editors: Reilly Brady, Jamila Dawkins

Senior Scene Editor: Olivia Poolos

Senior Cadenza Editors: Jordan Coley, Gracie Hime

Senior Sports Editor: Grady Nance

Senior Copy Editors: Jordan Coley, Grady Nance

Senior Multimedia Editor: Jaden Satenstein, HN Hoffmann

Senior Social Media Editor: Sabrina Spence

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