Student Home Prioritizes Safety and Communication During COVID-19
Houseparents at Milton Hershey School create structured, caring homes for children from low-income families. Houseparent couples teach students life skills and help them build character inside and outside of the home. Student home Cuba’s houseparents Weston and Elizabeth Parrett have become role models for their students during the COVID-19 pandemic by following the MHS Health and Safety Plan.
“Safety is our number one priority,” Liz said. “We want our girls to see us positively abiding by the plan and because of it, they are safe and healthy.”
The Parretts also have a lot of fun with their students by celebrating student accomplishments, organizing fun activities, and celebrating holidays with decorations, crafts, and special treats. They bring along their students’ parents/sponsors for the ride by sharing photos and videos through a private Facebook page.
“We remember that this is our students’ second home and we do our best to make them feel welcomed through fun activities and warm traditions,” Liz said. “We utilize Facebook almost every day to keep our parents/sponsors up-to-date. I think it’s important for them to see their students day-to-day and their successes here at MHS.”
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented its challenges for in-person visitation on campus. However, MHS has implemented virtual visitation opportunities for students and parents/sponsors to check-in and spend time together.
“MHS is one of the safest places students can be right now and we tell them that every day,” Liz said. “Our parents/sponsors are thankful for all we are doing for their children.”
The Parretts hope to encourage their fifth-grade girls to be leaders at MHS by helping others see that mask wearing and social distancing is an act of kindness.
“Our students originally felt uneasy about COVID-19 and what’s happening in the world,” Liz said. “But we have the power to help them see the good and be the good.”