A B.C. Christian university is going virtual in a bid to keep its annual spring recruiting weekend on track amid growing COVID-19 fears.
“We are making lemonade out of lemons,” said Scott Fehrenbacher, senior vice-president of external relations for Trinity Western University (TWU).
Fehrehnbacher said the weekend usually attracts would-be students from all over North America and the globe to tour the campus, meet staff and get a sense of life at TWU.
But he said this year they are hearing concern from American students who would need to transit through COVID-19 hotspot Seattle, and international students who are nervous about transiting airports.
“We don’t expect that to go down in the next two weeks,” he said.
It’s a concern Fehrenbacher understands first-hand. His son was trapped on the Diamond Princess cruise ship then U.S. quarantine for close to a month during the outbreak.
The school’s solution? Virtual reality headsets that will give prospective students the “next best thing” to an in-person campus tour.
With the addition of a smartphone, the VR headsets will give users a 360-degree view, including campus and dorm tours, and an introduction from the school’s president.
Fehrenbacher said the headsets will also allow the school to give the demo to more people.
“We do have a cap on how many people we can host here on campus. With a virtual reality headset we don’t have that cap,” he said.
The move echoes advice from B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who said Monday that companies should look at ways to avoid face-to-face meetings if possible.
“Obviously, it’s not for everybody, but making sure that that you can continue your business and have people work from home if that’s possible.“
Would-be students can register for the virtual headsets at Trinity Western University’s website.
British Columbia announced Canada’s first death believed to be associated with COVID-19 on Monday
Canada now has at least 77 cases of the disease: 32 in British Columbia, 34 in Ontario, seven in Alberta and four in Quebec.View link »