Peer Schools Vary on Room Visitation

Though the word “parietal” may not be common vernacular outside of Phillips Academy, room visitation policy is similar between Phillips Academy and peer schools Phillips Exeter Academy, Choate Rosemary Hall and St. Paul’s School. All four schools hold similar room-visiting policies but vary in regulations for room visits between grades and open-door policies. At each school, students may visit rooms of students of the opposite gender only after notifying house counselors and only during designated hours. Andover, Choate and Exeter all have open door policies, meaning the students’ room doors must remain open during the duration of the parietal. St. Paul’s School does not require students to keep the door open during parietals. Compared to their peers, Phillips Academy and Choate are the only schools to have different room visiting rules for each grade. At Andover, all students can have parietals Sunday through Thursday until 8 p.m. On Friday nights, senior, upper and lower visitors may stay in dorms for opposite genders until 9:30 p.m. Seniors, Uppers and Lowers may hold parietals starting early fall, while Juniors can have parietals after winter term. At Phillips Academy, Seniors may keep the door closed during parietals, Uppers must keep the doors ajar, and Lowers and Juniors must keep the doors completely open. Choate permits co-ed room visits between 5:30 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. for all students and parietals during the 9:00- 9:30 study break, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades may have room visits. The senior class may keep the door partially closed. Under-classmen must keep the door open during room visits. Regardless of year, students at Exeter must keep their doors ajar during any parietals. Students may have room visits between 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. on school days at the discretion of faculty members on duty and between 7 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. when there are no classes the following day, according to Daniel Morrissey, Dean of Students at Exeter. “I think [the policy] makes sense. It allows the students to have alone time with their friends, but also allows the faculty to have some oversight,” said Morrissey. Morrissey said that student council has brought many proposals for changes in the parietal policy, but that is has not received any modifications yet. “It is a difficult medium to find. We are acting as parents, and teenagers always want more freedom than their parents are willing to allow,” said Morrissey. At St. Paul’s, students must check in with their advisors before visiting other student’s room. They can visit rooms between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. during the weekdays in the fall and winter terms and they are not required to keep their doors open. On Saturdays, room visits occur between 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. St. Paul’s School’s rules for room- visiting may seem more lenient, said Thomas Bazos, Vice Rector for Students at St. Paul’s, but dorm advisors place big emphasis on dorm life, which includes parietals. “We expect a lot of our advisors to be on duty,” said Bazos. “[They don’t] sit there in their apartment with their door open and sticking their head out the door every once in a while. They are not holding extra help sessions or correcting papers. Bazos said it is the advisors job to visit around the dorm and visit all of the rooms, especially those rooms that have inter-gender visitation going on. “Students know that we will knock before we open the door. I suspect that some of the schools that have different rules may have different expectations for the advisor on duty in the dorms.” “Room visits are our way to trust students and for them to develop and form healthy relationships, both socially and academically, with the opposite gender. Students like the policy that we have, and we have not seen it being abused,” said Bazos.