Boarding Schools

Leading a boarding community through a pandemic: an unknown challenge

These have been truly testing times for communities and countries all over the world. Many of us will have never had to face the fallout of a global pandemic, and as such it has put undue pressure on schools all over the world. Particularly those with boarding communities. Students and staff have found themselves in unprecedented situations. Travel may have been suspended with no way of returning home. It is during times like these that schools and boarding houses show their true values and sense of community. How can Boarders’ well being and academic progress be monitored and nurtured from long distances and during an unknown period of time?

Staying Social

Be it the few students who have remained in your house or the boarders who are scattered all over the globe, it goes without saying that the daily interaction that they would have had needs to be maintained. Evidently, this now must take on a different dimension.  Microsoft teams meetings, Whatsapp or WeChat messages from the duty phone for example allow for those checking in conversations to be had. For those students left in our care, the small things are the greatest indicators. The breakfast chats, the communication throughout the day, the activities outdoors. It is important to keep the spirits up.

However, virtual schooling ensures that students are kept on their toes. Lessons continue with gusto and pace. Flexibility ought to be provided on the school’s part and as such, online lessons are recorded and time differences taken into account. Yet, boarders need support, even in their home environments to maintain the structure that has been so rigorously implemented and provided to them thus far. Boarding teams across the world will be spending their days monitoring attendance and providing tips to their cohorts to ensure that they maintain their drive and achieve their goals.

Well Being of Boarders

Boarders’ well being is always of the utmost importance, but it takes on an even greater importance at the time of writing. Also, the same can be said for communication with parents and guardians. It is always reassuring for as much information to be provided as possible. Key contacts at school, reassurance as far as academic expectations are concerned and providing a shoulder to lean on. Activities away from screens will now be more appreciated than ever!

Times like these require communication and support in abundance. Boarders are often noted as being resilient, independent learners, and ready to stand on their own two feet. Boarding communities around the world need to ensure that their message is very clear. We standby ready to help, and we’re always ready for a dialogue of any kind. 

Shane Higgins
Director of Boarding

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