In the age of COVID-19, much of what was once considered ‘normal’ has been altered. One aspect that has been overhauled in this new era is that of school touring for prospective Benjamin families.
Despite the pandemic, the School felt it needed to continue giving tours, according to Admission Associate and Director of Summer Programs Mr. Chris Nordland.
“We are trying to be cognizant of our own population. It doesn’t make sense to have families coming in from different parts of the country or even locally. That’s why we delayed [tours] to after school,” said Mr. Nordland.
As a result, a plan was formulated that would allow the School to continue to provide tours for prospective families and market the school in general, but in a COVID-19 friendly manner that minimized risk for all parties involved.
“[Now,] while we tour, we do the opposite of everything we usually do in admission; when we see people we usually walk away from them and certainly keep our distance. There is a demand–it’s as high as it has ever been. People want to see us and ask questions… I think this was a healthy compromise for prospective families and protecting our [own],” added Nordland.
Since implementing the new system, the admission staff, including Mr. Nordland and others, has been busier than ever, according to Director of Admission Mrs. Mary Lou Primm.
“Our admission office has been busier than any year on record. Our re-enrollment for 2021-2022 is at 97%, which is the highest it’s ever been. In addition, applications for new students have increased by 50%. This combination results in fewer spaces than anticipated for new students… Many of our grades are at capacity with a waiting list for the coming school year,” Mrs. Primm wrote in a Mar. 2 email.
The Kalian family, who recently toured Benjamin and had to follow the aforementioned School policy measures, had a mixed opinion.
“While we felt extremely safe touring the school, and right at home, it would have been great to see the students in person and in action,” the Kalian family wrote in a Mar. 8 email.
Regardless of the School’s current touring and marketing policy, many future plans in this field are up in the air.
“It’s difficult to predict what the coming school year will offer in the way of campus visits and marketing. Right now we are hopeful that we will be able to invite prospective families to
tour the campus during the school day and offer prospective students the opportunity to shadow our school community, as these are two of our most effective marketing tools. I can say without a doubt that our admission staff looks forward to the opportunity to showcase our campus during school hours,” Mrs. Primm wrote.