Modifying Normal Life During COVID-19: Admissions Shadowing

Abby Pyle

   “Some parents don’t want their kids to come in. They are doing virtual and they are just staying in their house,” says Charlotte Benziger, the Admissions Associate at CDS. This seems to be a common case due to the pandemic, forcing the admissions team to adapt to the COVID-19 restrictions and alter the shadowing process. 

   Shadowing is where students from other schools who are interested in attending CDS visit for a day are assigned a student host. The student host guides the shadowing student through their school day in order for the shadow to learn about CDS and see what a day in the life as a Patriot is like.

   Due to COVID, many changes have been made to the shadowing process. According to admissions associate Charlotte Benziger, in previous years, 5 to 6 shadows would come to CDS daily whereas this year they have “limited it to one child per division, middle school and upper school,per morning or afternoon.” According to Charlotte Benziger, the amount of time the shadow spends during the day has been cut down so that the shadows “either come in the morning, or in the afternoon. They come from a little bit after carpool until right before lunch just so they could have the two classes and that socialization time in between the classes with break.” Cutting lunch from the shadows day allows them to experience their shadowing day without having to remove masks, but still allowing them to experience a sufficient amount of the school day. In previous years,the shadows wouldstart as early as October, whereas this year we started in January.”

   The process for organizing shadows and pairing them with student-hosts has been a challenge with the new restrictions, courtesy of the pandemic. Charlotte Benziger said that when pairing a shadow to a student-host, certain classrooms are completely full, “So, if they have a certain class and we know that seats are full I’m not able to put them in that classroom, I have to find another host.” 

   Pairing shadows with their hosts was not the only challenge as a result of COVID because Some parents don’t want their kids to come in. They are doing virtual and they are just staying in their house.” In order to adapt to families staying home, this year shadowing in school is optional, or in the words of Charlotte Benziger, “If you want to come in, you can come in, but you don’t have to. And then we’ve also required a tour of campus, and that can either be done virtually over zoom with Ms.Cáceres or Ms.Schweitzer, or it can be done in person.”  

   Charlotte Benziger says the number of people who have shadowed has been “little bit of a decrease, but we are planning to do this all the way through the school year, as long as we are able to. So, hopefully those numbers will even out.”