Campus tours violate ‘Titan Pledge’ COVID Policy

Olivia Bachar

Tour groups still visit campus in-person. 
Photo: Emma Cottrell

Illinois Wesleyan banned non-IWU guests from entering buildings on campus for this semester. The school also canceled both in-person Family Weekend and Homecoming due to travel concerns over the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yet, tours for prospective students, particularly prospective athletes, have not been canceled. I have seen large tour groups, 15-20 people, touring the campus. These groups not only entered buildings and walked around them, but some even ate in the Bertholf Commons which makes absolutely no sense to me. 

The tour groups are typically made up of high school students, their parents or guardians, and sometimes siblings and coaches. All these people are not from the same areas and they are not in each other’s “quarantine groups.” The school does not know where they are coming from in terms of exposure and following the public guidelines with COVID-19. 

So why are they allowed to come to campus? 

In contrast, current students know the ins and outs of their families. We know if our parents and guardians are working in public, if our siblings are back in school and if they are following the guidelines. 

When I visited campus as a high school student, only my dad was able to come. Although my mom and brother were not able to join, we figured they could always come for move-in day and Family Weekend. 

With a two-person helper limit on move-in day, only my parents came. However, all they saw was the outside of a few buildings and the inside of my bare dorm room. 

I do not even need my family to see all the nooks and crannies in every building on campus, all I want is to be able to give them a tour of my finished dorm room, the bookstore and Stevenson Hall, as I am a nursing student. 

But no, I do not get to do this, so why is it that some high school students do?   

A few weeks ago, I saw a sign in the Shirk Center. The sign read something along the lines of “Welcome athletes and families.” The sign implied multiple potential collegiate athletes and their families were allowed to spend time inside the Shirk Center. 

If our school is not allowing current students to have non-IWU people on campus, why is the school allowed to? 

I feel that this is an unfair double-standard. I understand and respect the non-allowance of IWU guests on campus due to the current pandemic, however unfortunate it may be for us. The school has this rule placed for good reasoning, yet they are breaking it themselves. 

Also, spring break this school year has been removed in place of an extra week of winter break to reduce travel.

 If the idea is to reduce unnecessary travel, why are tours still being given? The tours are arguably unnecessary. Virtual tours of the school, as well as informational sessions, are readily available online. Although I do think in-person experiences, like tours, are more beneficial, they are not the best option right now. 

 “If the idea is to reduce unnecessary travel, why are tours still being given?”

The world is still suffering through the pandemic, Illinois is still having increased case numbers and we need to work to lower them. I

WU students have been doing great with the following guidelines, as of today, we are still set to stay through the end of the semester. But, this progress can be undone by the strangers being allowed onto campus. Yes, these strangers are possible future Titans and their families, but that does not matter. 

We are still in a pandemic, and for the safety of current students and staff, tours should only be virtual. Since students are not allowed to have guests, then neither should the school itself.