Adaptation is part of the new normal.
Existing in the time of COVID-19 is difficult, and for institutions that rely on recruitment, like Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, creativity is not just important, it’s necessary.
“Back in the summer, we knew we had to adapt to any changes at any given moment,” said Ellie Rich, Regina’s director of growth. “We had different plans. We planned A-Z. I think we are on Plan X at the moment.”
Regina Dominican is an all-girls prep school that has served Chicagoland for 60 years. It has a current enrollment of 242.
The creative recruitment methods during the pandemic have helped Regina stay top of mind for prospective eighth-graders and transfers, Rich said.
So far this fall semester, Regina has hosted socially distant events like a Panthers and Picasso Night, a socially distanced painting class with Regina art students; a WNBA viewing party with Regina basketball players; and two live open houses, limited to 90 families spread throughout campus.
Also this fall, Regina hit the road for Paws Up Pop Up, for which students turned a Regina bus into an ice cream truck and brought the experience to interested students.
Regina has also touted its successful back-to-school plan. The school is executing full in-person instruction, with students in the classroom five days a week. Thanks to its smaller student population, Regina maintains state and county guidelines with all of its students on campus, utilizing larger rooms, like its auditorium and library, for any classes too large to accommodate social distancing.
While three Regina students have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since school began, none of them caught or spread the virus on campus, Rich said.
“I’m always proud of our community … but it is amplified even more,” said Rich, a Regina alumna. “… Everything is possible when we all come together.”
Regina welcomes students from the city and North Shore almost “50-50,” Rich said, adding that North Shore enrollment has increased in the past couple years.