Signs, electronic and traditional, welcoming back students, faculty and staff. A tour for prospective students. A smattering of cars in the parking lot. Those were just some of the scenes July 6 as Thomas Nelson’s two campuses reopened to the public.
“We successfully met the day,” said Dr. Betsy Harrison, dean of Student Services at the Historic Triangle campus in Williamsburg.
Marc Vernon, director of Financial Aid and Veterans’ Affairs at the Hampton campus, agreed.
“Day one (having students back on campus) was a success,” he said.
He admitted to “a few logistical bumps in the road (i.e., managing/balancing the in-person student walk-ins with the virtual student appointments)” but those were minor.
Harrison said the Historic Triangle campus saw light student traffic, but the Navigate check-in system worked, and College personnel addressed all the questions they received from students and parents.
“Truly, we planned, trained, and hoped for this first day back to campus,” Harrison said. “Some staff had new duties, while others resumed their virtual duties on campus. We were ready.”
Among the students showing up on the Hampton campus was Tasha McKoy. She attended Thomas Nelson more than 12 years ago but is looking to return. She hasn’t attended any virtual classes and decided to return when she knew there would be in-person classes again.
“I like to have that one-on-one with the teacher. I feel as though I follow along better,” she said, adding she doesn’t think she would have returned if classes were entirely online.
McKoy is a certified nursing assistant in the spinal cord unit at the VA. Aiming to become a registered nurse, she was on campus to get information about financial aid. She took phlebotomy classes at Thomas Nelson in 2007 and earned a CNA certificate from New Horizons during high school.
Also on the Hampton campus, information technology and cybersecurity instructor Nick Pierce was providing a tour to a group of students from Hampton City Schools.
“We are running a summer college experience with rising 10th graders this summer, so we toured the campus to show them everything we have here to support our students,” he said.
The tour wasn’t specifically set up for the first day of the campus re-opening. It was a coincidence because that day worked best with everyones' schedules. He said a similar tour is scheduled for Williamsburg in a few weeks.
He said the weather was the only problem he encountered.
“We didn’t have any issues except for the heat of the day made the walks a little sweaty,” he said.