Update 3/30/20 11AM
Dear Hill House Community,
Governor Baker has closed all schools until May 4th.
Last week, we pilot tested offering our programs online and we are pleased to say that those tests went very well. While we recognize that the preference will always be to host classes in person, we believe that connecting our community virtually during these uncertain times is critical and we are pleased to roll out live online offerings with your favorite instructors for most of our programs beginning this week for the month of April.
For those enrolled in our programs, you’ll be receiving Zoom links directly from our program staff. If you would like to try to enroll in additional programs, please let them know.
Our hope is to reopen in-person programming on May 4th. Our athletic leagues will also open at that time.
Hill House is a nonprofit community who relies on our program fees and donations to remain a critical piece of the daily life and well-being of our downtown Boston community. We are so grateful for all the support our community has shown us over the years and we are striving to continue to connect our neighbors and friends during these unchartered times.
We miss you and hope that you and your loved ones a healthy and secure. Please, stay home and stay safe. We are looking forward to seeing you all online this week and in person next month!
Update 3/13/20 8:00PM
|COVID-19 PREVENTION||COVID-19 FACT SHEET|
From the City of Boston: As the news regarding the coronavirus continues to evolve, together with our public health and public safety partners, The City of Boston is committed to identifying actions we can take collectively to prevent the spread of this virus and protect people from exposure. The Boston Public Health Commission and Boston EMS are preparing for all scenarios involving coronavirus to ensure we will have a safe and effective response.
Update 3/12/20 11AMDear Hill House Community,
As you have seen on the news or may have been personally notified, several schools in Massachusetts have closed—including the Eliot School and Park Street School, due to potential exposure to by someone in their community who did have contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
We have always stated, the health and safety for our community members is our number one priority. While there haven’t been any reports of any of our staff or participants having been exposed, we do recognize there seems to be a good deal of overlap in our community with these schools.
Hill House has decided to suspend programs until March 30th effective at noon today (March 12, 2020). Out of an abundance of caution, and in timing with many of the local private school breaks, we hope this temporary suspension will help local officials and the medical community in trying to slow the risk of spread. We’ll have our cleaners come in and perform an intensive deep clean as an additional precaution.
We want our community to stay connected! All our administrative staff will be working from home during this period. We’ll be continuing our plans for spring including our baseball league! If you need to reach us, our phones are forwarded to our cell phones and we all have computers w/our emails, as well as have access to our work files and software applications at home—we are still here for you! Our Program staff is looking into ways we might be able to offer complementary online classes with some of our favorite instructors. They would be password protected for those registered in those classes. Stay tuned as we try to work out the logistics of this new initiative in these unchartered times.
The good news is that we have several potential make-up weeks built into our schedule. Our plans are to run the spring season in its entirety resuming on March 30th assuming that there is no additional guidance from local and state officials to be closed. Should there be any extension of the suspension of programming, we will notify you immediately.
We will miss you all incredibly over the next two weeks, but are certain that as a community, we’ll be able to come together even when we are apart. Stay healthy, get some rest, and we look forward to opening back up as soon as possible so that we can continue to be your backyard in the city.
What is Hill House Doing to Prepare?
Will Hill House be closing?
Hill House will follow the direction of local health officials. As per our normal policy, if the Boston Public Schools close, Hill House will close the organization temporarily until Boston Public Schools reopen. BPS will make these decisions in partnership healthcare experts and other community agencies and organizations. Also, should we be informed that any of our staff, instructors, or participants test positive for COVID-19, then we would close temporarily, perform a deep, disinfecting cleaning of the facility, and reopen once we have been told we are in the clear by appropriate state and local officials. If the decision is made to close Hill House temporarily, Hill House will notify the Hill House community through email, text message, and our website promptly.
What is Hill House doing to ensuring its facilities are clean and healthy?
Hill House has contracted additional cleaning at both our 127 Mount Vernon Street (the Firehouse) and the 74 Joy Street facilities—which includes deeper cleaning, expanded disinfecting, and more staffing. All cleaning supplies being used CDC guidelines. Hill House has supplies of soap on-hand and are ensuring that soap dispensers are constantly stocked and refilled throughout the day. We’ve also increased the number of hand sanitizer stations throughout the building and instructors and coaches have increased frequency of wiping down all equipment and commonly used surfaces with disinfecting agents.
What is Hill House’s policy cancellations, refunds, and postponements
The health and safety of our staff, participants, and greater community is our highest priority. We recognize that there are certain subsets of the population who are more at risk than others. We are currently looking at each situation on a case-by-case basis. If Hill House does have to close temporarily (2-3 weeks), we do have make-up weeks built in at the end of the spring (late May/early June) to complete a full season. If for some reason, we are required to remain closed longer than 3 weeks, then we will pro-rate refunds and/or credits for future classes for any classes not run in their entirety.
What about Hill House staff and instructors? We want them to be ok
Hill House staff are like family. We’ve asked staff to stay home if they feel unwell. We have asked any administration staff who have recently traveled through airports to work from home for 14 days. We’re also evaluating any future employee workshop and/or conference attendance, as we want to minimize large-group settings for them.
We’ve also asked our part-time instructors and coaches to notify us of any health issues and/or travel via airports. If they are sick, then they should stay home. Per Massachusetts state law, they will have accrued sick time and we should be able to pay them accordingly. In the short-term, while Hill House remains open, we will ask any instructors who have traveled to not instruct at Hill House for 14 days. For those classes, we will postpone or find substitutes. We will try to make sure that we minimize their personal economic impact.
How is Hill House monitoring the changing situation?
Our Executive Director, Lauren Hoops-, is monitoring the situation hourly and has been in touch with local agencies, our Board of Directors, community partners, and healthcare experts to get advice. We are closely watching CDC guidance, as well as the local and state officials on what steps are necessary to keep our community safe. Hill House has provided guidance to our administrative staff, instructors and coaches, community partners, and tenants on how best to handle this evolving situation.
How will Hill House share updated information?
Until further notice, Hill House will update this website at least weekly, if not more, as we receive more information, even if only to inform the community that nothing has changed. As necessary, Hill House will also communicate with families through texts, emails, and calls.
We understand that many of you may have questions regarding the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may impact our local community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing daily updates and recommendations. Please click on the following link to stay updated https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
While this is a public health concern, the CDC continues to report that the immediate risk to the general public remains low at this time. Yet, in today’s connected world, with a large number of families traveling during school vacation weeks and parents traveling for work, the potential for infectious disease is always of concern. As with seasonal flu and strep infections, there are general precautions we can all take to remain as healthy as possible.
- Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. You can also cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
- Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid sharing drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, dishes, towels or other items. Wash these items thoroughly with soap and water after use.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick whenever possible.
- Practice other good health habits: Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
- It is important to keep children and caregivers home from programs when they are ill. If you, your child, or your caregiver have any of the following symptoms please keep them home and ask us about the potential for make-up classes: temperature greater than 100.4, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, any rash not yet diagnosed by a physician, red or pink itchy eye, and/or drainage from eye, and any contagious illness such as chicken pox, strep throat or flu. For additional guidance on when to keep you, your child, or your caregiver home, please refer to Flu Symptom Checklist.
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an evolving situation that we are following closely and will continue to update you as information is shared with us. Please rest assured that we are monitoring and adhering to guidance from the CDC, state and local officials, schools, and other community programs.
Additionally, we are vigilantly disinfecting and sanitizing our program spaces as we typically do during cold and flu season and have purchased additional hand sanitizers and Clorox wipes and sprays for each space to help augment the sanitizing that is already occurring. We've instructed our cleaning company to add more resources to ensure our spaces get deeper cleaning during this season. We've also asked our program instructors and coaches to spend more time before and after class disinfecting equipment between each class use.
The health and well-being of our participants, staff, volunteers, and community members is of utmost importance and we will continue to share new information with you, as necessary, about this evolving situation. If you have additional questions, you can also call the Department of Public Health Epidemiology line, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, at 617.983.6800. You can also refer to the DPH website at www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus.