Boarding during a Pandemic

By Henry Dean

Being a boarder during lockdown has been a totally different journey to what we are all used to, how we interact and where we go to for support and guidance, but the underlying ethos has been the same. Even though we have not been able to be physically together we have been united by supportive staff and our boarding bond which runs deeper than just being able to be in one house at school.

Boarding school sets you up for challenges you weren’t sure you are able to face and this unusual time has taught us all more than we know about ourselves, armed us with the resilience we use on a daily basis and kept us connected through online portals we weren’t even sure existed until now. One important skill I really value from almost six years in boarding is having independence, the ability to look after myself and others.

As boarders we are so used to being together and even though this pandemic has forced us apart, we have kept in touch and shared our lockdown journeys. Boarders have a strength and resilience that we’ve had to call upon to find our way forward whilst still being guided remotely by school. Countless messages and supportive links have been posted and sent to our boarding community from afar but keeping us close and providing that support where needed. Knowing even though we are not physically together we remain in touch and are able to lean in.

Boarding puts you in close confinement with others for prolonged periods of time, teaching you how to learn to tolerate and live in harmony with those around you. This skill has been called upon when ending up for weeks on end with family who normally you wouldn’t spend so much time. The home learning plan has no doubt been a challenge for staff and pupils but we had a head start before the Easter holidays, so we quickly got to grips with the new normal whilst many other schools were still finding their way.

Being able to keep in touch with the boarding team and different helpful videos on how people are doing and links on how look after ourselves and the people around us certainly helps keep morale high within the community. Supportive staff and constant access to school resources, such as the boarding group chat added to effective online communication, making this journey easier for the boarding community and finding a way forward.

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