Boarding

Host Family and Boarder Buddy Information

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q: Why did Hockaday continue to keep its Residence Hall closed for the 2021–22 Academic Year?
We came to the decision to close the Residence Hall for the 2021-22 Academic Year after months of close consultation with our Medical Advisory Group and careful consideration by senior leadership, based on the best medical and public health guidance available. The health, safety, and well-being of students has been our number-one priority through all of our decisions related to the pandemic.

Q: In closing the Residence Hall for the 2021–22 Academic Year, what options are currently enrolled Boarding families given to allow their daughters to continue their Hockaday education?
For the 2021–22 Academic Year, enrolled Boarding Families are given the following options:
1. Enroll their daughter as a Day student at Hockaday and live with a family member or an approved local guardian.
2. Enroll their daughter in a distance learning program coordinated by Hockaday for the coming academic year. We will work with each family to develop an appropriate distance learning program that advances each student’s progress toward a Hockaday degree.
3. If a family determines it is better for their daughter to enroll elsewhere, we will be happy to help each such family identify another program that offers an in-person boarding experience. We know that many schools have adjusted their deadlines this year because of the unusual circumstances.

Q: Why might a local family be interested in hosting a Boarding student?
Hockaday Boarding students come from across the country and from all around the world. Families who have expressed an interest in hosting Boarding students or who have done so in the past have indicated that the diverse experiences and cultures these students represent enriches their families and their daughters’ educational experiences. In addition, Hockaday is a warm and caring community, and some families have asked how they can help Boarding students whose educations have been disrupted by the ongoing pandemic.

Q: How many Boarding students are looking for host families for next year?
We are having individual discussions with each Boarding family to make this determination, but at this point, it is clear that a number of families whose daughters would have been enrolled in the Boarding program have indicated they would like to enroll their daughter in the Day program for next year. Some of these families have already made arrangements for their daughter to live with local family members or other chosen guardians in the Dallas area. Others have inquired about whether a local Hockaday family would be interested in hosting their daughter for the 2021–22 Academic Year. We do not yet know exactly how many Boarding students will be interested in finding a host family.

Q: Will every Boarding student who is seeking a host family be able to find one?
The decision to host a Boarding student is an individual one and entirely voluntary. We do not yet know how many Boarding families will be interested in finding a host family, nor how many local Hockaday families might be interested in hosting. The School will endeavor to connect families so that they can determine whether a hosting relationship is appropriate for them.

Q: Is Hockaday planning a formal hosting program for the 2021–22 Academic Year?
Hockaday does not offer a homestay program for Boarding students. For many years, Hockaday has had a Boarder Buddy Program, which is explained below and completely separate from hosting. Given the circumstances created by the global pandemic and the subsequent closure of the Residence Hall, families who are interested in having their daughter stay with a host family have asked for guidance, and Hockaday has paperwork for both families interested in hosting and Boarding Families to assist with this process, which will be required for any student who is not living with her family.

Q: What is the Boarder Buddy program?
Hockaday has had a Boarder Buddy Family Program which is not a hosting program and is only in place when the Residence Hall is open. It is designed to enhance the Residence Life program by giving Boarding students a warm, family-oriented experience outside the Residence Hall while they are away from their own families. A number of Hockaday Day families participate in this program each year. The purpose of the Boarder Buddy Program is to offer Boarding students a family experience while they are away from their own families. Relationships are rooted in outings, family dinners at the Boarder Buddy family home, attendance at athletic events and more. Through the Boarder Buddy program, Hockaday has learned some best practices for having a good experience, both for the student and the family who is their Boarder Buddy.

Q: What are the characteristics of the students seeking a host family?
The Boarding students we have heard from so far about enrolling in the Day program who may be interested in a host family next School Year range from currently enrolled Form I to Form III students.

Q: What is the process for hosting a Boarding student?
Families who are interested in exploring becoming a host family should contact Jill Flinders at jflinders@hockaday.org. There is paperwork that must be completed by both participating families. This will include conducting background checks on the host-parents and on anyone else who is 18 years of age or older residing or spending significant time in the host-parents’ home. Hockaday also will supply paperwork for needed permissions (such as medical authorizations), as well as a guide of expectations and best practices to support a good experience for all involved.

Q: Why is a criminal background check required to serve as a host family?
The School will run background checks on all members of the host family 18 years of age or older to confirm that such individuals do not have a record that would disqualify them from becoming a host family for a Hockaday student.

Q: Can we meet with or interview the family of the student before we agree to serve as a host?
Good communication is essential to ensure a positive experience, both for the student and for the family who has agreed to host her. We strongly encourage you to have an open channel of communication with the student’s family and to ask lots of questions to make sure you understand the student’s particular needs, interests, etc. We also encourage you to establish regular communication throughout the time you are hosting the student.

Q: Can we host a Boarding student for just part of the 2021–22 Academic Year?
It would be highly disruptive to the student to have a hosting experience that ends before the school year is over. Therefore, we recommend hosting families make a commitment to host the student throughout the entire 2021–22 Academic Year. The student may be unable to find placement with another host family mid-year, and the student may be affected by travel restrictions that prevent her from going home. This is another reason why good communication with the student’s family is essential before you make a commitment to host a student.

Q: How can we ensure a positive experience, both for our family and for the student we are hosting?
In conducting the Boarder Buddy program and from this year’s host family and student experiences, Hockaday has learned about practices that are necessary to support a positive experience. These include respecting the student’s culture and religious beliefs, respecting the student’s personal privacy and dignity, and establishing ongoing, open communication with the student’s family and with the School. If you decide to host a student, we will share materials that outline these practices to help you understand and live up to your obligations as a host family.

Q: What will happen if someone in my household contracts COVID-19?
If anyone in your household – whether a family member or a hosted student – develops symptoms of COVID-19, you should follow recommended practices for getting tested, isolating the sick person until a negative test result is confirmed, etc. This situation would not change the host responsibilities that you have agreed to. Just as with any member of the Hockaday community, if you have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in your household, please contact Hockaday’s Health Services Director Erika Herridge (eherridge@hockaday.org) so we can determine who else in our community may be at risk. For more information, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.  

Q: What will happen if Hockaday needs to return to distance learning for parts of the year?
Hockaday faculty are prepared to teach all students remotely if changing circumstances make this necessary at any point during the year. If you are hosting a student in your home and distance learning becomes necessary, the student will need to continue her distance learning program from your home until on campus instruction resumes. If this occurs, Hockaday will work with you to help make sure the student has appropriate equipment and support to be able to participate fully in the distance learning program.

Q: What are the financial arrangements for hosting a Boarding student?
Seeing as this is not a Hockaday sponsored homestay program, any hosting arrangements would be determined by the hosting family and the parents of the student who would be a guest in the home. This includes any financial arrangements, such as reimbursing for expenses incurred.
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