2020 has turned out to be a most unusual year. The coronavirus pandemic has turned everything upside down and inside out. Nothing is normal. All of this has impacted boarding schools in ways they never expected. While most private school boards of trustees are smart enough to have resumption of business plans in place and adequate insurance coverage for the school plant and the usual liability issues, very few school trustees ever expected to be dealing with so many challenges converging at the same time. Against that backdrop, I thought it would be useful to conduct a fictional interview with the head of a boarding school. After all, her concerns are probably yours as well.
Rob: What challenges at school in the fall of 2020 keep you awake at night?
Head of school: Oh, Rob! Where do I begin? There are so many things demanding my attention. My workday starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. if I'm lucky. And I work every day just to keep my head above water.
As parents, the role we play in keeping our children safe during this dreadful pandemic is multi-faceted and often confusing. It's a multi-faceted role because we have to be teachers, facilitators, and monitors. I can hear you thinking that what I am saying sounds like what you do all the time. So, what's different when dealing with COVID-19? The most significant difference is that the coronavirus is invisible. Protecting your children by teaching them how to do everyday tasks involves dangers or risks which they can see. You taught your kids how to safely cross a road by showing how to do so, not once, not twice, but many times until you knew that your child understood what to do. You taught her how to swim, to travel alone on a bus or plane, to handle contact with strangers, and so much more. You protected her against diseases with vaccinations and regular medical checkups.
The problem with COVID-19 is that it is invisible. How do you teach a child to protect herself against something she cannot see? Children are logical. If it's raining, they understand the need to wear a raincoat and hat. If it's hot out, they know to drink plenty of water. And so on. But an invisible danger? That's not as easy to comprehend.
This video from New York University's Langone Health offers some expert help explaining the pandemic to your children.
Teach basic protection.
Teach your children how to protect themselves by wearing a
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. I am a concerned parent and grandparent. This article draws attention to some of the questions I have about sending my grandchildren off to boarding school. ~Rob Kennedy
Getting your child ready for school in the summer of 2020 is a nerve-wracking experience for parents. We have always been concerned about our children's safety both at school and at home. We have taught safe behaviors since they were tiny tots. Sending them away from home to a residential school always posed issues of separation and homesickness that you and I were able to deal with more or less successfully. But sending them off to boarding school in the middle of a global pandemic? Well, that's something else again, isn't it?
Suddenly, all those familiar scenarios of dropping our children off at school seem so benign and distant. This COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything you and I have seen in our lifetimes. The virus seems to attack people of all ages. It seems to lurk in hosts and find new hosts via droplets that hang in the air. It lives on common surfaces such
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned all of our lives upside down. This is especially true when it comes to international students planning to attend private school in the United States for academic year 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
What is different about obtaining student visas in 2020?
In normal times, the admissions process for international students contained many steps and was complicated by the additional requirement of obtaining a student visa. Here is what the Department of State has to say about student visas:
Student Acceptance at a SEVP Approved School
When we sent our daughters off to boarding school in the 80s, our biggest concern was whether they would be homesick and unhappy. We had carefully chosen the schools that they attended. We were confident that they were well-run schools where our girls would be safe and receive an excellent education. Fast-forward to the summer of 2020. If I were sending my children off to boarding school during the COVID-19 pandemic, I would be asking many questions. So, let's you and I look at some of the issues that should concern us as parents during this dreadful pandemic. Because the pandemic is so dynamic, be prepared for frequent updates and last-minute changes to previously-announced protocols and instructions.
How will the school communicate with us?
If you paid your deposit in April and your child is scheduled to begin classes in September, expect the school to be sending you regular updates about its plans for reopening. Most schools will explain in great detail how they propose to reopen in accordance with federal, state, and local guidelines and directives. You must understand that the situation is fluid. The school can only open