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Family Engagement

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Spring Break Safety

Spring Break is March 7-15.  It comes right after midterms, and students will be well primed for a few days of R&R, whether that is at home, at a friend’s house, or at another destination.

Some students will travel en masse to a popular spring break site in the US or the Caribbean.  If your student falls into this category, it might be helpful for you to share some good travel practices and precautions. University Police’s theme for March is “Safe Break” and provides great tips.

No matter where your student ends up going, it is probably appropriate for you as parents and family members to communicate your expectations on their behavior and safety.  Here are a few additional thoughts from the Parent Programs office.

The web site has some guidelines for things parents and students should discuss well before spring break.

It may be helpful to talk with your student about how best to ensure personal safety on a spring break trip.  The parenting web site offers some good guidelines, covering topics such as:

Stick with friends you know and trust. Never go out alone or leave a safe place with strangers. Even if you meet people or locals on your trip and they seem friendly, they might not have the best intentions. While indoors, also be careful of going into closed spaces such as elevators and stairwells by yourself.

Be a stranger. Don’t give out personal information, or tell strangers what hotel you’re staying in or where you’re going.

Drink responsibly. If you consume alcohol, make sure you get your drinks directly from the bartender or a person you know and trust. Don’t leave your drinks unattended.

Go with your gut. Be aware of your surroundings. If you feel like something is amiss, trust your instincts. If you’re being followed, the Office of International Education at the University of Richmond suggests, “Step into a store or other safe place and wait to see if the person you think is following has passed. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask someone to double-check for you to see if all is safe. Display confidence. By looking and acting as if you know where you’re going, you may be able to ward off some potential danger.”

Lock up. When going to the beach or pool, leave important valuables and documents (especially your passport) in your hotel’s safe deposit box, not in your room.

Stay safe in your hotel room. A spring break safety tip sheet from Longwood University recommends the following: “Ensure there is a peep hole in the door and that the dead bolt and other locks are in good working order. Never open your door to anyone you do not know. If the person states they work for the hotel, call the front desk and confirm this before allowing them entry.”

Choose transportation wisely. Use recommended shuttle services or buses to get around. Only use reputable, licensed taxi services.

Protect your skin.  If your student is headed to a sunny destination, remind him or her of the need for sunscreen.

The goal for Spring Break should be fun – but with safety first.  Talk to your students now about how to stay safe wherever they go.