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A Tour through COVID-19 at ISU

Written by on August 17, 2020

Photo courtesy to Office of Admissions Facebook page

NORMAL, Ill.- Illinois State University remains one of two state schools that are holding in-person tours. The Office of Admissions has two virtual options along with two in-person tours.

Students can choose an info-session, where a presentation that is held by two admissions counselors. Afterward students and families are able to ask questions to a panel of tour guides.

Students can also choose a guided virtual tours where guides use google maps and videos made by the university. Office of Admission Guide, Justin Mabrey explains the changes he face as a preview guide for this past summer.

“A lot of incoming freshman told us they had never seen campus before. This past summer was a mix between showing freshmen campus but also recruiting,” said Mabrey.

Students are able to select in person tours with or without guides. Those who select a tour without a guide receive a map and follow prompts to walk themselves.

“If they feel comfortable, guests can have an in-person tour. Guides, students and their guests are required to wear masks,” said Mabrey. “We also spend most of our time outside, but masks are required because social distancing can be unreliable. We have a lot of modifications to keep everyone safe, we sanitize the office and the Welcome Center daily, but we are determined to still offer in-person tours in a safe manner.”

Mabrey claims that the show rates are high with students consistently looking for tours. The Office of Admissions plans to utilize new procedures, like using face-shields and microphones and belt-clipped speakers and are beginning recruitment for next year.

“Right as we start move-in, our eyes go to next year. We are trying to get tours filled to a capacity that is within guidelines. We are also keeping those virtual options open, because they have been very popular,” said Mabrey.

Student employee Jon Fulton created the new virtually-guide tour and Mabrey says the demand is there. Although tours got cut from a showing parts of the campus tours continue to work.

“Guests are not getting gyped,” said Mabrey. “They’re getting the full experience in a responsible manner. We are here to do the job because we love it. It has been great to have a supportive environment and still have an on-campus job, it has just been wonderful.”

Mabrey said there is adjusting, but having the opportunity to offer tours is something not a lot of institutions have.

“People want to see campus, people want to be here. Pictures and videos do not do it justice. The fact that we are able to safely and confidently provide quality in-person tours, we are in a strong and steady spot as a University,” said Mabrey. “Those students who are visiting our campus during a pandemic, will never forget that.”

Students can even take a masked-photo with Reggie at Redbird plaza. “That is something you can never forget,” said Mabrey.

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