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Sidebar: How S.C. colleges are handling tours during the pandemic

College pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, and that includes college visits. Campus tours now consist of smaller groups, mandatory mask usage, and limited building access if the tours are even offered.

According to their respective websites, Clemson, Furman, and Winthrop were among the notable Palmetto State colleges that, as of mid-September, had suspended campus visits due to COVID-19. South Carolina State shifted to remote learning for most of the fall semester and limited access to campus. All of those colleges have virtual tours available.

According to their websites, other major state colleges have resumed campus visits, but with health and safety measures in place. USC is among schools limiting tour capacity, mandating masks for all participants, and not allowing access to residence halls or academic buildings. College of Charleston also resumed tours and keeps capacity at a low level, mandating masks and skipping residence halls or dining areas.

“It’s certainly been a challenge,” said Will Chase, associate director of visitor services at the College. “But we’ve been able to now go into the fall in sort of a hybrid format. So we’ve opened up some campus tours, and are still offering plenty of virtual options as well.”

Charleston Southern limits tours to one prospective student and one guest, who must both undergo symptom screening. The Citadel is limiting capacity, mandating masks and temperature checks, and has temporarily suspended its overnight knob visits.

Coastal Carolina allows prospective students to bring no more than three guests and not allow access to any buildings. Similarly, Wofford limits groups to three people per family, mandates masks, social distancing, and having guests take a health questionnaire 24 hours before their visit.

Most major state schools have numerous virtual tours available on their websites. Campus visits peak in the spring, by which time state schools are hopeful that they’ll provide more tours in person.

“That’s certainly the hope,” Chase said. “We’re kind of planning it week-by-week right now. We hope to be able to bring back our larger events and that sort of thing, but we’ll pivot as the science dictates and as our administration allows.”

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