Family Weekend: is it too soon to bring back?

Family Weekend has been a tradition at MSU Texas for many years and never fails to bring together the students, their families and the community. Taking place Friday to Sunday, parents, siblings and other family members are encouraged to explore the campus and attend different campus activities and socials all day. In Fall 2020, Family Weekend was put on pause due to the pandemic limiting the gathering of large groups. This was a reasonable plan since the number of COVID-19 cases was at an all-time high at the time. Cases continue to rise every day, with the weekly average of COVID-19 cases being 148,000 in the U.S. With this information, one question remains: is it too soon to host a big event like Family Weekend with potentially dozens of children, adults and elders?

As someone who is a sucker for university traditions, I definitely want to attend Family Weekend because I, along with other students, missed plenty of annual traditions due to the pandemic. But I am also conflicted due to the harsh reality that people of all ages are dying from this virus; it would be arrogant of me not to acknowledge that fact. Like many other seniors, this is my last Family Weekend; therefore, I want to make the most of this opportunity before I graduate from MSU Texas. I know everyone wants to get back to “normal” and be able to attend events freely without a mask or the fear of contracting COVID-19. I would love nothing more than for COVID-19 to disappear forever and have everyone recover from the virus, but we don’t have that luxury right now, and we won’t have that luxury for a long time.

This virus isn’t something we can ignore and hope goes away. When families and students attend Family Weekend, we can’t ignore the potential dangers we could face being in large gatherings with strangers. This event can only be held safely if everyone in attendance makes the necessary precautions. These precautions include getting the COVID-19 vaccine or wearing a mask and social distancing. Before anyone says “I don’t need to get vaccinated,” refusing the COVID-19 vaccine impacts a lot of people including yourself, your loved ones, even the university and the community. If you’re still not comfortable getting the vaccine, wearing a face-covering when in large gatherings has been proven to greatly reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. There is still a risk, which is why the CDC also encourages social distancing. Taking these precautions is not meant to infringe on rights; rather, they are meant to protect you and everyone else.

Consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine before attending Family Weekend, or at the very least, wear a proper face mask and social distance when possible. You can keep yourself and others safe while still having a fun time with your family. Get the vaccine to protect yourself and wear a mask to protect your loved ones.