The Simmons admissions office has begun offering in-person tours for prospective students. Virtual tours were offered throughout the pandemic.
“The thing that was most important to us was obviously the safety of our community,” said Kate Innes, the director of admissions at Simmons. “The safety of our staff, our students and then our visitors too, visiting us, so obviously we wanted to make sure that we had a plan where we are following all the safety protocols.”
In-person tours began on March 2.
Innes said the admissions office has instituted a host of safety protocols, including limiting tours are limited to one family per tour, requiring visitors to double mask, and providing tour guides with fitted N95 masks. The admissions office provided tour guides with microphones to wear while on tours so families can hear the tour while maintaining social distancing, said Innes.
According to Innes, the admissions office worked closely with the Simmons COVID Recovery Task Force to design the plans for in-person tours.
Along with COVID-19 concerns, the admissions office has to contend with campus construction projects when planning tours.
The One Simmons project, which aims to renovate and update academic campus spaces, is underway, which prohibits tour groups from entering some buildings on the academic campus. Currently, tours are only allowed to enter the Palace Road and Park Science buildings and to walk around the academic quad, according to Innes.
Tours are allowed to go onto residence campus as well, but the admissions office had to redesign the tour route because students are currently living in dorms.
Amelia McConnell, interim director of residence life, said that tours of the residence campus go around the quad into Simmons Hall, which is currently unoccupied. McConnell said that Simmons has been intentional in thinking about the health and safety of the community in planning in-person tours.
Hayley Arnold, a public relations and marketing communications senior, has been a campus ambassador since her sophomore year. Arnold said she is excited about the chance to give campus tours in-person again.
“I’ve just been cooped up in my apartment and I love giving tours. Since I’m a senior, it’s my last kind of sense of normalcy at Simmons,” said Arnold.
She said she’s not worried about exposure and feels that the “admission staff is really on top of things” with providing personal protective equipment and designing tour routes to minimize cross-contamination.
Currently, Simmons is only offering tours to admitted students because they will make their college decisions soon and are interested in seeing the physical space before committing to Simmons, said Innes. She said there has been high interest from prospective students.
Innes said that while admissions is offering in-person tours, virtual tours are still available.
Listen to an audio version of this story in this episode of Welcome Home. Coverage of in-person tours begins at timestamp 1:03.