Dear Yard Families-
While all of us are excited to get back, the safety of all those who attend The Yard has and always will be our top priority. Below you will find some safety guidelines that will be implemented. We have also made several upgrades to our facilities over the past few months in order to try and make the environment as safe as possible for all.
• All of the rooms now have HEPA air filtration systems that filter out viruses and other contaminants from the air- they filter out the entire volume of air in the classroom several times per hour.
• Research has shown that viral transmission is less in higher humidity, the optimal range to minimize transmission is 40%-60% relative humidity, we now track this and have increased the humidity in both facilities to this range.
• We installed a central HVAC ionization system in both facilities. This system simulates the ionic processes found outdoors and actively neutralizes viruses in the classroom air.
• We have replaced and upgraded the HVAC filters at both facilities.
• We have adjusted the HVAC intakes to bring in more outside air into the building.
• Our fields have 40’ ceilings which encompass large amounts of circulating air relative to rooms with lower ceilings.
• All staff will be screened for symptoms and have a temperature check.
• They will be given their personal hand sanitizer and cleaner to have on them at all times – along with the ability to wash their hands frequently while on duty.
• If anyone in the building tests positive for COVID-19 the facility will undergo a deep cleaning of the fields and all other areas. If we have to close, a field credit will be issued to your account.
• If need be, our staff will provide First-Aid and come into contact with players.
• Field Space and hallways
• MASKS are required AT ALL TIMES!
• NO SPECTATORS are allowed in the building.
• No spectators are allowed, whether indoors or outdoors.” Page 7 – Restore Illinois: Winter Updates to All Sports Policy
• Parents are allowed to bring their young child to their respected field but then have to leave out their respected exit
• They are allowed back in through the front entrance at the end of the rental/session – exiting with their child out the respected exit door
• Our staff will clean high traffic areas between field rentals (ex: you have the field from 4-9pm we will clean at 9pm. We will not clean between your different groups).
• We also clean entrance doors, field doors, bathroom doors and other high traffic areas frequently.
• There will be no congregating, waiting, loitering in the hallways pre or post rental – as traffic must be kept moving
• ALL renters will enter the main entrance NO MORE THAN 5 minutes prior to their rental.
• Please be respectful of your ending time and be off your field at the time your rental is finished. There is NO lingering in the hallways/track areas so please calculate time for your athletes to gather their belongings/change if needed.
• ALL athletes need to bring their belongings onto the field or boxes – not left on the track or in hallways!
• If you are renting field 1 or field 3 – you will EXIT out the SOUTH door on the track or in the stairwell.
• If you are renting field 2 or field 4 – you will exit out the NORTH door which is located in the stairwell.
• PLEASE MAKE SURE ALL PARENTS KNOW WHERE TO PICK UP, AS WE DO NOT WANT ATHLETES LINGERING ALONE
• Ensuring ALL athletes and coaches have passed the CDC provided screening questions, as well as having a temperature less than 100.4 degrees. Note: ALL information should be documented daily by the renter. *see attached form- it should be turned in every DAY your group rents with us.
• PLEASE make sure 1 coach is staying until all athletes have left the building and/or have been picked up!
• Renter will let The Yard know if ANYONE has come into contact with a COVID-19 case and understand that their rental is cancelled until approved to come back
• The renter will be responsible for communicating these rules to their patrons and enforcing them.
• Fields 1 and 2 are a 50-person capacity (25 for A/B). Field 3 and 4 are a 25-person capacity (12 for A/B)
**All procedures subject to change based on various state/local guidelines that are added or removed. **
Dear Yard Families-
As many of you may have already seen or heard, Illinois updated its Restore Illinois plan- youth programs and camps are now allowed to open in Phase 3, which means we could potentially open up as early as next week. We have continued to pay our staff while we have been closed and we have been cleaning and updating the building and our procedures (see below) to be ready to safely re-open when the time came. When you feel safe allowing your child back into a group setting is an incredibly personal and individualistic decision, we just want to be ready for you when you are ready- especially for those now in need of child programming because they need to return to work. We will likely resume operations with just our Mighty Tykes classes, soccer skills, and summer camps- all groups in these classes will be limited to nine participants plus a coach. Below is a list of the changes to physical space and our policies and protocols that we have put in place over the past two months.
The Yard has been incorporating CDC, DCFS, IDHS, IDPH, and GOECD guidelines to try and create a safe environment for your children. Our large open spaces, state-of-the-art ventilation systems, and natural light throughout the building and classrooms make us a uniquely safer environment relative to some other facilities. Below is a summary of some of the upgrades and improvements that we are implementing:
• We have replaced all our HVAC filters in units and increased the amount of outside air the units bring in-
the air turns over in the building a few times every day
• We have installed clear non-permeable acrylic barriers at all of our reception desks to make check in and out safer
• We have created a butterfly garden and increased outdoor nature-based programming to get the kids outside more
• We have increased hand sanitizer stations throughout the building for employees, parents, and children
• We have spent three weeks deep-cleaning all of the classrooms, common areas, and equipment
• Programs will initially operate with groups of less than ten children to facilitate social distancing
• Employee workstations have been reconfigured to allow for 6’ social distancing
• Water fountains, except for the touchless refill stations, have been taken out of service
• Signage has been placed throughout the building highlighting face covering requirements, social distancing guidelines, and cleaning protocols
• The playtower and inflatables are closed for the initial opening phase
Policies and Protocols
• Employees must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth in the classrooms and when within 6’ of others
• Camper groups will be limited to 9 campers plus a coach, and the groups will be led by the same coaches each day
• Children over the age of two must wear face coverings when and where practical
• Employees or children with any COVID-19 symptoms will be immediately isolated and removed from the building as quickly as possible
• Disinfection of high touch surfaces is increased to hourly
• Daily check-in wellness checks and touchless temperature screenings of all employees and students
• Employees must complete COVID-19 related health and safety training before returning to work
• Employees and students are not allowed to come to, or remain at, the facility if sick or symptomatic
• We are doing our best to keep COVID vulnerable employees home from work
• Employees or students that contract COVID-19 shall remain out of the center for a minimum of 14 days and will need to be tested before returning
• If anyone associated with our center contracts COVID-19, they will have to remain out of the center for 14 days, the center will be shut down for 48 hours for cleaning and disinfecting
• External suppliers will not be allowed into the center
This is just a summary of some of the items we are doing- we are currently working through over fifty pages of regulations from five different governing bodies, as well as best practices in our and other industries, to get ready for all of you. As we get closer, we will send out a more detailed opening plan to all of you. One note- we are also looking at several other upgrades to our HVAC systems: we have extensively researched UV radiation, bipolar ionization and far-spectrum UV, as well as others. The issue is that there is very little reputable third-party research done on these new systems, and the current research ranges from ineffective to possibly mildly effective, with some having possible negative side effects. We will continue to monitor these systems and will implement something when it is proven to be effective and safe.
We look forward to having your children back in the building and are continuing to work to make the environment as safe as possible in the meantime.