High school and transfer students from across the country and world are attempting to navigate their college search through the challenges and limitations caused by the pandemic.
Many colleges and universities, including Willamette, are allowing limited campus tours under strict guidelines in an attempt to ease the process and personally connect with these students.
The university's tour procedures for example, have undergone extensive changes in order to adapt to new standard safety requirements regarding mask usage, physical distancing and sanitization. These standards were approved by the Reopening Operations Committee in July and went into effect once Oregon initiated the second phase of its reopening plan.
Willamette staff, faculty and students may see prospective students touring campus. Here are some of the enhanced safety protocols that are in place for these tours:
Limits on the number of tours. Four admission tours are being offered per day, one family each for 45 minutes each, and no walk-ins are allowed. No more than five people, including the student ambassador guide, are allowed on each tour. Additionally, three prospective student tours per day with athletic staff are available to future student athletes.
Restricted access to campus spaces. Once families arrive in visitor parking, they call from their car to the front desk to begin the check-in process, which includes answering a few questions regarding the status of their health. Only when the family passes the health screening questions will they be allowed to enter the Office of Admission, and only for access to restrooms as needed. All other campus buildings remain closed to visitors, and Admission Ambassadors will take guests on a modified, outdoor-only tour route.
Required mask usage, social distancing and sanitization during tours. Each family is treated as one unit, and members of the same family don’t have to maintain 6 feet of distance from each other. However, families will have to maintain distance from their tour guide and any admission staff members. A small hand sanitizer is given to each visiting family upon arrival, and masks are provided for guests who arrive without one.
Modified tour route. The tour route has also been shortened to focus on the most highly requested parts of campus while minimizing outside guest touch points with our campus community members. Only one tour guide and one admission counselor will interact with each visiting family (or one coach). Professional admission staff will only be available to meet with each family in areas where 6 feet or more of social distance can be maintained, whether it’s a presentation room or outside. All additional touch points that would normally be offered to on-campus guests, such as individual meetings with faculty or a current student, will be offered in a virtual space.
While standards and procedures may have changed, every attempt has been made to keep the campus tour experience a special one, so don’t hesitate to say hello and give a 6-foot welcome to these prospective students and families.