The Collegian
Monday, September 20, 2021

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UR brings back in-person campus tours for admitted students

A student tour passes by the post office.
A student tour passes by the post office.

The University of Richmond resumed in-person campus tours for admitted students in November 2020, after suspending tours in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Rebecca Buffington, director of admission for recruitment and marketing. 

Tours are offered on weekends and each tour is limited to one family per tour guide in order to follow COVID-19 guidelines, Buffington said.

The prospective students and their families check-in at the Queally Center and briefly walk through the second floor of Tyler Haynes Commons. No buildings are entered during the tour, Buffington said. People who are not directly a part of the UR community are not allowed into campus buildings because of indoor air circulation, according to the Physical Distancing Framework.

Tour guide and junior Isabelle Drayer is not overly worried by the in-person tours, she aid. 

“The families visiting campus have to go through a health screening when they arrive on campus before the tour begins,” Drayer said. “[Everyone] remains masked and six feet apart throughout the duration of the tour.”

Drayer said she had felt safe giving in-person tours. Fellow tour guide and junior Katelyn Inkman agreed. 

“I know that I’m taking all the necessary precautions and know that the school would not be letting us do in-person tours if it were too dangerous,” Inkman said. 

Inkman also supports allowing in-person tours, she said, because she understood the challenges of choosing a college remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My little sister was a high school senior last year who had all of her college tours canceled while she was trying to make her decision, and it was really hard on her,” Inkman said. “So I also think the in-person tours are really important for prospective students in making sure that they feel confident in their decision of where to go to college.”

Buffington said that although virtual tours of any college campus may not be ideal for prospective students, she did not think that it affected the level of interest UR received from high school students from this past application cycle. 

UR received almost 14,000 applications for the class of 2025, she said. UR received 12,060 applications for the class of 2024, according to UR admissions.

Inkman and Drayer went through tour guide training in spring 2020 and thus did not experience giving pre-COVID-19 tours, they said. 

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At the height of the pandemic, UR was offering virtual information sessions that included a tour of the campus by two tour guides, Buffington said. There were designated virtual-stops for each tour guide to share important information and personal stories with prospective students and their families, Buffington said.

UR also offers a self-navigated virtual tour that highlights 18 places on campus, with corresponding narratives about each location, and a self-guided walking and driving tour, Buffington said.

“Since last March, the Office of Admission has developed various virtual programs to promote the Richmond experience,” Buffington said. “But while we would like to offer more opportunities for future Spiders to see campus in person, the safety and health of our community always comes first.”

Contact news writer Liv Ronca at liv.ronca@richmond.edu.

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