On & Off Campus Blog

Starting at a new school during a pandemic
Starting at a new school during a pandemic
David Xiong ‘26

2020 has been a challenging and tumultuous year. In March, schools across the nation were forced to shutter at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. After months of seemingly perennial waiting, I walked onto the beautiful campus of Buckingham Browne & Nichols Middle School to start seventh grade.

Despite only being on campus two days a week, I have some sense of normality. Our students are very fortunate to be able to participate in outdoor athletics, even though we have to wear masks. For me, running miles on the school’s cross-country team has given me a peace of mind and rejuvenated my mental and physical spirit. In addition, we haven’t let COVID stop our wonderful eight after-school clubs such as the Math Team, The Spark newspaper, and our huge variety of musical offerings, such as Chamber Ensemble and the Jazz Band, which all meet weekly on Zoom. I am a contributor for the Spark, and we publish a wide variety of topics such as politics, opinion, reviews, short stories, poems, artwork, and more. The voluntary opportunity to contribute an opinion article on the Electoral College broadened my perspective and knowledge of the world. 

On the three remaining remote days, our teachers have worked hard to make it possible to have synchronous Zoom sessions. At the same time, they are also mindful of our screen time and give us asynchronous opportunities to work. In addition, students also have access to the Knight School, which is a facility located in Watertown staffed by our excellent former BB&N graduates for supervision while students use remote learning materials.

Even though the transition to my new school has been challenging during these difficult times, I have been able to make many new friends in our vibrant and diverse school community. The experience has enriched my perspective and cultivated my learning experiences. For example, we have daily advisory/homeroom groups that meet every morning, which gives me an opportunity to meet many more fellow students and create long-lasting bonds, as well as receive helpful tips on time management, organization, and goal-setting. Moreover, I have enjoyed the unique chance to meet with teachers during E-block, our study hall period, to seek help and ask questions. I was very glad to find out that this collaborative learning culture is encouraged and welcomed. Lastly, we all treat each other with kindness and respect, holding ourselves accountable to our school motto of Honor Scholarship Kindness, or in Latin, Honestas Litterae Comitas.

While this new school year has been unpredictable, it has also been fun as we all navigate these challenges together.  Rightfully, there are concerns about schools being able to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic, but as Head of School, Dr. Price, has reiterated, we will prevail and we must all play our part in taking precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing. I have no doubt that my academic, social, and emotional journey at BB&N will continue to flourish.