Dovercourt: A cautious and creative reopening

A photo of two children water rafting in Ottawa through Dovercourt's programming.
Two boys have fun during Dovercourt’s summer water programming. Photo courtesy of Dovercourt.

This Kitchissippi Times article is sponsored. 

Submitted by Dovercourt staff. 

Like many businesses and organizations, we closed in March for what we thought would be a short hiatus to allow COVID-19 to get under control.

The weeks stretched on, and we realized that the impact was going to be much greater than we imagined. 

Behind the scenes, a core team worked from home to plan scenarios for surviving the financial impact of cancelling all programs from winter onwards, including our eagerly anticipated summer camps. 

We watched and waited, listening to daily announcements from the federal and provincial governments.

As the word came that we could reopen the building in July, we reviewed what we could do within safety parameters. From June onwards, we offered a menu of online classes, including fitness, arts and sports. The feedback has been good, and we will continue with these options in the fall session. 

Our camp team reinvented the lineup into half-day camps by keeping kids safe in bubbles, but preserving the fun activities that our camps are known for. As the summer progressed, we were able to include outdoor options like white water rafting, biking, Outdoor Adventure and River & Forest School.

On the water front, we opened our wading pools in a modified way. We offered private swim lessons in zones in our indoor pool and devised “bubble” swims — pool rentals for people in the same social bubble — that quickly sold out. 

As Ottawa moved into Stage 3 of reopening, we created two early-morning, in-person fitness classes that have been well received (Zumba sold out in a few days!). 

The success of our summer programs has given us confidence that our cautious but creative approach can extend to our fall programs, as we plan a schedule with familiar favourites and modified classes. To ensure everyone’s safety, numbers will be limited, pre-registration will be required, cleaning routines have been enhanced and entry to the building will be controlled.

COVID-19 fall updates:

Afterschool & PD Days will be starting back up as kids return to school. The programs will follow the same summer procedures and guidelines from health authorities and school boards.

Swim lessons and recreational swims will continue this fall.

Sports like parkour, karate, rope skipping, taekwondo and basketball will start up in October. 

Arts classes will be modified to online offerings, including the popular watercolour class with Beverley. 

Fitness will offer in-person classes throughout the day. Online options will continue for those who prefer to workout at home. 

This Kitchissippi Times article is sponsored. 

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