June 26, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope this email finds you and your family safe and well. All of us at The Barn have been very busy the last three months reconfiguring our programs, developing comprehensive protocols to keep our children, families, volunteers and staff safe, and planning for the future amid vast uncertainly. Who could have imagined the degree to which the world has changed in the last three months?!

I’m writing today to let you know more in detail how we have responded and continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, especially now that we’ve entered the “green” phase.

As you’re probably aware, The Barn suspended its Individual Programs and Camp Geronimo. Our annual Spring Fundraiser was held virtually, and staff have been primarily working from home with the exception of Mr. Chris, our Facilities Manager.

We are currently running several no-cost virtual programs that are open to anyone who wishes to participate:

  • Spring Brook Spotlight covers interesting Barn and farm topics, the animals and our neighbors. (Tuesdays at 11am via Facebook or Facebook Live)
  • Zoom with the Animals is a live video exchange where each week a different animal is featured with little games (Thursdays at 11am via Zoom)
  • Story Time with the Barn features a different Barn staff member each week reading a nature or animal themed story (Fridays at 1:00pm via Facebook Live)
  • Our annual Summer Splash socialization event scheduled for July 11 will be delivered via Zoom.

This Monday, June 29, we will finally be welcoming children back to The Barn!  Family Barn Visits are currently open only to our already-engaged families, but we anticipate enrolling new families in this program very soon. Each day one child/household unit under the direct supervision of at least one adult household member will be coached (from a safe distance of 6′) to participate in animal-assisted and outdoor activities.

We are also piloting a virtual Special Summer Session the week of August 3. This program will be limited to 16 children and delivered daily via Zoom so they can see and interact with each other. Each day will feature different activities such as games, music therapy, animal yoga, dance and crafts. Participating children will receive an activity box filled with everything they need to engage in the week’s activities.

(It is possible that Family Barn Visits and Special Sessions will be repeated into the fall provided social distancing restrictions are still in place.)

Save the date for our annual Hoe Down: Saturday, October, 17! This significant fundraising event will look a bit different this year, but be prepared for lots of (safe) fun, festivity and surprises! More information about the Hoe Down is coming soon!

We couldn’t have accomplished all that we did in such a short period of time without the help of several Temple University occupational therapy students assisting with our programs, as well as the diligence of University of Pennsylvania nurse practitioner students who worked tirelessly to create our comprehensive Communicable Disease Policy for Staff, Volunteers, and Participants which is serving as our primary reference resource to aid us in navigating our work at The Barn. (Please note: the link to our policy was recently removed due to ongoing recommendations for best practices requiring our need to continually make updates. Please contact me if you would like the most up-to-date information about The Barn’s Communicable Disease Policy for Staff, Volunteers, and Participants at [email protected].)

Our detailed protocols include:

  • Increased cleaning and sanitization of our facility
  • Requirement that masks must be worn at all times by staff and visitors
  • Social distancing will be practiced in all areas of The Barn
  • Required daily health screenings for staff and visitors

Moving forward, we will continue to monitor the guidelines and recommendations from the CDC, the Governor’s office, the Chester County Health Department, and other local and national experts and modify our programs and operations as needed to remain as safe as possible.

We look forward to growing the level of connection that makes our Barn community so special. Your encouragement, support, and patience are so appreciated at this time and we truly hope to see you soon!

With warmest regards,

Nan Latona