As Texas A&M prepares to welcome back students this fall, new precautions have been established for the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors. As the Class of 2024 arrives in College Station, for many this will be their first time on campus as many orientation visits had been cancelled due to the pandemic. To aid in guiding these new students around Aggieland, the Appelt Aggieland Visitor Center recently reopened its doors.
Director of visitor experience Kelli Hollinger said prior to arriving, all guests will complete a mobile check-in and multi-step wellness certification. In addition to standard coronavirus practices, Hollinger said smaller tour sizes and an outdoor-dependent experience have been established for the well-being of visitors and staff.
“The coronavirus crisis is not over, so there is inherent risk,” Hollinger said. “[We] ask visitors to acknowledge and accept that risk. However, through diligent cleaning, handwashing, wearing masks and social distancing, we are following best practices to safely reopen.”
Hollinger said it is thanks to these efforts that the center has reopened and begun welcoming visitors, including the incoming freshman class of Aggies.
“Most guests express gratitude that they were able to visit campus at all,” Hollinger said. “It has been very rewarding to host several Class of 2024 Aggies.”
Hollinger said in-person tours are offered first to the incoming freshmen and they will be greeted by a new and unconventional experience.
With as many of the changes to the process and experience, Hollinger said mobile check-in will be a permanent fixture. The reopening of the Visitor Center is very important for prospective and incoming students, said junior accounting major and student-worker at the Visitor Center, Alexandra Theriot.
“The policies put in place at the Appelt Aggieland Visitor Center were designed to protect our visitors along with the staff,” Theriot said. “As a student worker, I feel comfortable because safety is a priority.”
Theriot said the new precautions set in place allow her to feel confident working with her team and visitors amid a pandemic.
“[The changes] allowed the Tour Guides to get to know prospective students better and tailor the tour to their interests,” Theoriot said. “The precautions in place positively affect [the] visitors’ piece of mind during the pandemic.”
Theriot said the Visitor Center offers both in-person and virtual tour guides so that every visitor has the opportunity to experience Aggieland within their own personal comfort zone. To experience the campus in person, reservations for in-person tours can be found on the Visitor Center website.