Where are the boarders now?

Rachel Jan, Staff Writer

Daily FatStraws trips, birthday hall celebrations, movie nights with her roommate—those were things Krissa Liu imagined for her senior year in boarding. Now, due to Covid-19, Liu and the 71 others previously housed in the Residence Hall have a very different year ahead.

Over the summer, Hockaday announced the Residence Hall will remain closed for 2020-21. With boarding no longer an option, boarders were faced with deciding where to stay for the school year. Ultimately, Liu chose to participate in distance learning from her home in Shanghai, China.

“Right now I’m staying at home because, well, it’s uncertain times and home is where I feel the safest,” Liu said. “I chose to distance learn because, first, there’s the entry restriction.”

The entry restrictions regarding quarantine specified that travelers to the United States may not enter if they had been in certain countries during the past 14 days. For Liu, this meant to travel back to Dallas she would have to quarantine in the UAE or Cambodia for two weeks.

Despite being across the world for her senior year, Liu has found the silver lining in her situation.

“I am actually glad I get to spend time with my family because it has been five years since I have last stayed with them for so long,” Liu said.

Junior Katanu Ndambuki, who lives in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, also decided to be a permanent distance learner for the school year. Similar to Liu, Ndambuki said she enjoys the extra family time.

“It is amazing getting to be home with my family especially because I was only seeing them twice a year, over the summer and over Christmas break,” Ndambuki said. “It is really nice being able to see them every day in person and not over FaceTime.”

Still, both Ndambuki and Liu said that distance learning in different time zones has its disadvantages.

“My teachers keep forgetting to record and post recordings or they have technical difficulties with uploading recordings,” Liu said. “I don’t blame them but it does make keeping up with class pretty difficult.”

Due to the difficulties of distance learning, other boarding students decided to become day students and live in Dallas with their newfound host families. Junior Angela Yuan said she struggled to find a host family.

“My parents and I asked around, but most possible host families were complete strangers for us, so my parents had safety concerns,” Yuan said. “Luckily, we found my host family now who had previously hosted my friend Joy.”

Yuan said she has moved in with her host family and is settling in well.

“Though adjusting into a new environment and meeting new people can be a little overwhelming, their cat Kiki filled my first few days with warmth and fur,” Yuan said.

Skylar Maier decided to join her host family once in-person learning starts on Sept. 23 for sophomores.

“I was offered a place to stay with the amazing Chavis family and I took that offer,” Skylar said. “I am nervous for all the change, but I also think it is a great opportunity. I do miss the community that boarding holds, though.”

Like Maier, the other boarders said they miss the boarding community, but are hopeful for the future.

“I miss hanging out with friends and studying together in boarding,” Ndambuki said. “It is sad that there will not be a boarding program this year but hopefully we will be able to come back next year.”