The Foreign Service Journal, December 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | DECEMBER 2020 77 David H. Charlton is presi- dent of Church Schools in the (Episcopal) Diocese of Virginia, a position he has held for more than 20 years. The child of Episcopal missionaries, he lived all over the world before settling in Virginia and has extensive experience in the non- profit education sector. He can be reached at Randal E. Brown is the boarding admissions of- ficer for Church Schools in the (Episcopal) Diocese of Virginia and a longtime independent school professional. He is also a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard and an Iraq veteran. His two daughters are happy products of boarding school, as is he. He can be reached at . EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT ing students found an appropriately regimented reception on campus that was both warm and safe. In new twists to old procedures, cam- pus receptions involved COVID tests, temperature checks and temporary quarantine while awaiting test results, followed by reentry into dorms and classes. Masks, social distancing, small meal settings and fewer athletics mean school looks and feels different. Still, while teenagers often grouse at structure and change, all have been encouraged by a real spirit of coopera- tion and camaraderie that allowed stu- dents to overcome early misgivings. Life on hall may still include room- mates, as a dorm or hall becomes its own “pod” and is managed as you might a large family, while interaction with other halls or dorms is restricted. Liberal leave poli- cies have been suspended and replaced with lots of on-campus weekend activities. Similarly, academic calendars may now have only two large breaks: Thanksgiving through the New Year’s holiday and an A s an industry, boarding schools transitioned smoothly from resi- dential to distance learning with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. Both students and parents were pleasantly surprised with the well-thought-out delivery of the aca- demic program. In addition to academics, boarding schools placed emphasis on nurtur- ing the strong personal relationships students have with peers and teachers. During the pandemic, it has been more important than ever to maintain close communities. Chapel, advisory pro- grams and other optional virtual gather- ings remained popular and sustained morale even though everyone was apart. In the fall of 2020, most schools remained open, welcoming their boarders back into dormitories where residential learning resumed. Schools have well-considered reentry plans in place to keep students, faculty and staff safe inside a “bubble.” Accustomed to structured life away from home, return- Boarding schools have responded seamlessly to continue delivering quality education during the pandemic. BY DAV I D H . CHARLTON AND RANDAL E . BROWN U.S. BOARDING SCHOOLS Resilient in the Pandemic and Beyond