generally, Proctor academy , In Enover, NH, begins the school year with a five-day orientation at the White Mountains. The weather can be pathetic, but students come in a far-flung group. This year, he spent the night in exchange for the school’s 2,500 acres of forest property. “It’s still fun, but it’s not the same kind of bonding experience,” said Assistant Head of School Karin Chloe.
There are 21 hostels in this school with 365 students, and this year students cannot enter any hostels, but have their own. “They become small pods like small families,” Ms. Chloe said. But if a student does not like those hostel peers, there are some options for making other close connections. They cannot have dinner at their advisor’s house. Or lounge at the student center, which may be limited to 12 at a time this year. “It’s the spaces between them all that I think are missing children,” Ms Chloe said.
For 15-year-old Scarlett Bowman, her first year at Proctor has been lonely and isolated. She decided last spring to leave her magnet school in Austin, Texas, because she worried it would remain virtual in the fall.
But she is struggling to get her place in New England. “I expect the community to be just nicer, more welcoming, but because there is an epidemic and your life is in danger of going out everyday, it is much harder,” she said. Being stuck on campus with no alternative is “suffocating”, she said.
The winter was cold, and made it even harder for other students to connect with it. When five students tested positive for Kovid-19 after returning from winter vacation, dozens had to quarantine, including Scarlett’s friend. Suddenly, the campus seemed deserted and surreal. “It was terrible,” he said. “I just wanted to go home.”