In The Pandemic: Parents' Concerns About Boarding School

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In The Pandemic: Parents' Concerns About Boarding School
Sending our children off to boarding school in the fall of 2020 raises questions about their safety and other corona virus issues. We address some of your concerns here.

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

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Dealing With The Pandemic: International Students
The COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges for international students planning to attend American boarding schools. We look at the situation as it stands in July 2020.

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

The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States. After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered for the 

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Fall 2020: Plans To Reopen
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed just about everything in our day-to-day lives. Here's a look at how the pandemic is impacting boarding schools.

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

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Choosing A Junior Boarding School
Thinking about sending your tween to boarding school? The personal attention and comprehensive programs which junior boarding schools offer are worth a serious review.

Curious about boarding schools for younger students, i.e., students in middle school, as opposed to high-school-aged children? Then, explore the possibilities which junior boarding schools offer. Junior boarding schools come in two flavors: schools that have no upper or high school and those which provide both an upper school and a residential component for students in the middle school years.  

 

Wondering whether a junior boarding school right for your child? Honestly, it probably is. But you will never know until you explore the idea thoroughly. Tune out the negative things you have read about boarding schools. After all, the media tends to focus on sensational stories that hardly show boarding schools as they really are. Go and see for yourself. A quick call or an email is all it takes to make an appointment for a visit. 

 

In this video, Kim Loughlin, Bement School admission director, explores the reasons that a family might consider a junior boarding school for their child.

 

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International Students: Offsite And Virtual Visits
International students who want to attend an American boarding school face several additional steps in the admissions process. More here.
Many students from countries outside the United States want to attend American boarding schools. International students make up about 15% of the student population in American boarding schools, according to The Association of Boarding Schools.  It is important to know that international students applying to an American boarding school deal with several additional steps in the admissions process. Because many applicants live at great distances from the schools that they would like to visit, schools have come up with a variety of ways to let parents and potential students experience the school, its community, and its programs. If you live in Asia or Europe, for example, it is not always financially or logistically possible to visit schools in person. Furthermore, while the coronavirus pandemic is active in most of the world, international travel is problematic at best. So, what alternatives exist for those situations? Actually several. Off-campus, school visits come in a couple of flavors.
 
Admissions Staff Visits Overseas
 
Many boarding schools send their admissions staff overseas to major cities in countries where they have a substantial applicant pool. Ask for details of visits in your area. While you will have to rely on school videos and web presentations of school life and activities, at least you will have a live person to whom you can pose questions. If English is not your first language, this meeting with school officials will give you a deadline to meet. After all, you are planning to attend school in a country
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