In response to growing fear over the coronavirus outbreak, Hill House temporarily shuttered its Mt. Vernon Street facility and suspended its on-site activities at noon on Thursday, March 12, and it will remain closed until March 31.
“We have always stated, the health and safety for our community members is our number one priority,” Lauren Hoops-Schmieg, executive director of the nonprofit community center, wrote in a March 12 email. “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 [the Eliot and Park Street schools].”
Hoops-Schmieg, wrote that by coordinating Hill House’s closure with school vacation, the decision would aid medical professionals and elected officials in trying to lower the risk of spreading the virus. She added that Hill House would also undergo a “deep clean” as an added precaution.
During the closure, Hill House staff is working from home and continues to plan for the upcoming baseball league, among other activities.
“Our Program staff is looking into ways we might be able to offer complementary online classes with some of our favorite instructors,” Hoops-Schmieg wrote. “They would be password-protected for those registered in those classes.”
Over the next couple of weeks, Hoops-Schmieg told this reporter that staff would post recipes, activities and ideas on how to keep kids busy, as well as online music lessons and cooking classes, among other potential offerings, on Hill House’s social media pages.
“We’re working out the logistics on how to make this available to our members,” she said.
Moreover, Hoops-Schmieg wrote there are “several potential makeup weeks built in to [Hill House’s] schedule,” and barring any further interruptions, the nonprofit plans on running spring programming in its entirety beginning March 31.
“Should there be any extension of the suspension of programming, we will notify you immediately,” Hoops-Schmieg wrote.