Now that the boarding students have returned to the Loomis Chaffee campus and new COVID-19 protocols are in place, the day students are being challenged to stay connected with their boarding friends and the LC community in spite of the loss of shared dinners together and, of course, COVID-19 protocols. To ensure the optimal campus experience for day students, the school should take measures, such as designating socialization and work spaces.
Because day students like myself were not allowed to go to campus during the first weekend of Fall Term II, observing boarding students hang out with each other gave the day students FOMO (fear of missing out) and created a divide at the beginning of the second term. It was hard to log onto Snapchat or Tik Tok and watch our friends having fun while we were stuck at home.
Day student Mckayla Marohn ’24 stated that if allowed to join weekend events on campus, she would “be able to see the boarders more naturally.”
On the second weekend of Fall Term II, day students were allowed to go to campus on the weekend, and spending quality time at LC outside of the busy school day provided the day students with a sense of normalcy within the community.
“When the day students were allowed on campus, my experience was much more enjoyable than the first weekend,” boarding student Kirsten Lees ’23 said.
Before this term, strong friendships were built between the returning boarding and day students, and both groups miss dinners and late nights on campus together.
Dinner was a time where day students could socialize and relax with their friends after a long school day and before starting their work. Without this time during the school week, we have lost a social component of community.
“Last year when I was able to eat and socialize with other people, I was able to get more of a community feeling from the school,” day student Salvador Katz ’23 said.
However, despite wanting to bond with the boarders, the day students also need designated work areas. The so-called day student spaces are also being used by boarders, leaving day students with few spots to complete work. Without their own designated locations, day students feel at risk when they are forced to do work in crowded areas.
Distinguishing social spaces from quiet work spaces and enforcing their differences would help to create clarity for the best locations to use depending on the wants and needs of the students.
“It gets very crowded and it gets very difficult to do all of your homework in the [student center] and then the library also gets filled up very quickly. So I think maybe there should be other spaces for day students as well as boarders to go where they can talk,” day student Isabella Balise ’23 said.
Furthermore, the weather is a factor when it comes to spending time on campus. As we move into the winter season and the temperature begins to drop, students will have to stay inside. With limited indoor hangout spaces, day students will have fewer opportunities to connect with their boarding friends outside of sports and classes.
Of course, going to school during a pandemic comes with many obstacles, and we all must make sacrifices for the common good. However, more could be done to provide us day students with a better balance between being able to see our friends while also having safe and quiet spaces to do our work.