Friends, Parents, and Students,
While our staff thoroughly enjoy running online adventures and classes as well as online summer camp, we are also excited for the day we can slowly open the castle doors and welcome everyone back. As you can imagine, though, when we do come back we know life will never be the same.
We have been in regular contact with the health department and the state regarding how to reopen safely. Our planned phased reopen date (if the trend for new cases continues to stay level or lower) will be Wednesday, August 5th. Please note that there will be significant changes in both our class schedule as well as procedures. We will start with only one class on Wednesday and another on Thursday so we can help our staff and students ease into our new operation model. We do not expect to be open for all classes and events for quite some time… so we appreciate your patience. We WILL continue with online programming as we phase into a full reopening. After we are fully open, we may continue with online programming if there is enough demand.
The health and safety of our entire community require that we change how we do business. Prior to the stay-at-home order from the Governor, we instituted new cleaning and disinfecting procedures as well as installed hand sanitizing stations at the entrance to each of our adventure spaces. These procedures will continue.
SO WHAT COMES NEXT?
After polling our staff and some of our clients, we have decided that we will not be providing offline summer camp during August. We will continue our successful course of Online Day Camp sessions through the remainder of the season. If you plan on attending more sessions, please register ASAP as some of the weeks are close to capacity.
We are also partnering with a school in the UK, creating online STEM adventures and classes for their teachers to use and distribute to their member schools. In addition, we will be making this curriculum available via our Learning Platform for schools here in the US which are opting to either teach remotely or perform a hybrid of remote and in-person schooling.
As well, we are researching the possibility of running Remote Homeschooling Classes for our customers who wish to continue their education online during the school year. These classes will be made available for any existing and new students. If you are interested in these classes, which will be held Monday through Friday from 11-2pm, please let us know.
OUR PHASED REOPENING SCHEDULE
The first week in August, we will start phasing in our in-person classes. Here is the latest version of the schedule. These classes are open to anyone homed in that day’s same class/age type. If there is enough room, students from other days may also attend. We are starting with NERF and Fencing classes first because it is easier for students to maintain distance and also to limit contact exposure. Note that the classes now end 10 minutes early so that our team can disinfect and to limit cross-traffic between entering students and students leaving class.
The following are now available as in-person classses:
Wednesdays 4-4:50pm for youth fencing
Thursdays 4-5:20pm for NERF ACE (combined with Sword ACE to make one T2 class – students from either class can attend, however only NERF blasters will be used)
Saturdays 10-11:20am for TS fencing and 12-12:50pm for T1 fencing
NOTE: Arrive dressed for class! There will not be any available space for changing clothes.
NEW SAFETY MEASURES FOR PARENTS, STUDENTS & STAFF
The next phase in our effort to be able to open and operate safely is halting the use of shared/borrowed weapons. Effective immediately:
- Properly fitted and worn Masks (not handkerchiefs) are required of all students, staff, and any individual in our facility, in our parking lots, or anywhere on our property. Before exiting your car or stepping foot onto our property, you should be wearing your mask. Mask MUST cover the bridge of the nose, nose, mouth, and full chin.
- The only shared weapons will be the ones used by staff or non-player characters (those playing story enhancing characters instead of their own character). Enrolled students MUST have their own weapons and equipment in order to enter the building and attend class.
- Admission will be done through the back and the front door will be solely used as an exit.
- Anyone in the building is expected to maintain social distancing of six feet.
- Parents will not be allowed inside the facility and all transactions will take place over the phone or through forms/emails. Livefeed cameras have been installed so that parents can still watch their students in the adventures from the safety of their cars.
- We will maintain a small inventory of fencing gear that will be available ONLY to trial students arriving for an introduction to fencing class. Enrolled students MUST have their own equipment in order to enter the building and attend class.
- We will also provide a limited inventory of foam swords and NERF blasters for one-time experiences such as birthday parties and events. These will NOT be available for enrolled students or campers to use.
- All equipment used by staff and one-time or trial students will be sanitized at the end of each class or day and may not be used by a different person until it has been fully sanitized.
- Trial students enrolled in paid introductory lessons to non-fencing classes will receive their own complimentary short sword prior to their first introductory lesson which they will then take home.
- Proper signage reminding everyone of these rules shall be posted at the entrance and other conspicuous locations throughout the facility.
- Enrolled students and campers must provide their own authorized equipment and they must take it home after each class to be washed or disinfected.
- You will see this policy repeated often because it is very important that you understand that those who show up without their own properly fitted mask and weapons or equipment will not be able to participate or enter the building.
- There will be no exceptions to this policy.
REQUIRED EQUIPMENT & PURCHASE DISCOUNTS
For Fencing Students: To avoid any missed classes when we return to operation, please visit http://www.blue-gauntlet.com/ now and order your equipment. If a student has questions about their sizing needs please call us at (781) 270-4800 or contact us with your name, email, and phone number and one of our staff will get back to you. We feel that directing you to our supplier will provide you with the most savings possible and also allow you to have your equipment delivered directly to you.
Required Equipment (MUST be purchased in advance by students and brought to each class): Foil, Glove, Mask, Jacket, Plastron, breathing mask.
We recommend this breathing mask for fencers for under their fencing mask:
- $19.99 each
- Athletic fit face mask suited for fencing as it extends down below the bib as well
- Can also use this mask for other activities increasing its value
For NERF Students: You must own your NERF Blaster. These can be ordered through Amazon or Walmart or many other retailers. Note that due to the nature of streamlining the items we carry and have to disinfect, we will only be using Rival rounds and so all NERF blasters that are used in our classes and programs should be compatible with Rival Rounds. You can see the RIVAL Blasters at https://nerf.hasbro.com/en-us/rival. Please order now to have them ready when the castle reopens. Blasters that have been modified to make rounds shoot faster or harder will not be permitted onsite. Again: NERF blasters that use NERF darts will NOT be permitted at the facility… only those that use Rival Rounds.
For ACE and Points & Powers: Most of you own one or more foam weapons. However, if you don’t own a sword or shield or if you wish to purchase more, we have extended the 25% discount on these items. You can access our Online Order Form and we will have your items shipped to the castle for pickup when we reopen. Those who come to class without their own weapons will not be able to enter the building or participate in class.
Required Equipment (MUST be purchased in advance by students and brought to each class):
ACE: Eye Protection, Rival NERF Blasters
P&P: Eye Protection
And finally, let’s talk about gloves. Some people think they will help reduce the spread of viruses, others disagree. In general, the argument is that you are less likely to touch your face while wearing gloves and you are not touching people or objects with your bare hands. On the other hand, once you touch a person or object with your gloves they are potentially contaminated and you would not normally sanitize them while on. Consequently, frequent hand washing and the use of sanitizer are considered your best protection against the spread of germs. If you use gloves, be cognizant of the dangers of touching your face or bringing them home with germs on them.
CONCLUSION & THANKS
Requiring our students and campers to purchase their own weapons was not an easy decision. However, based upon currently known guidelines from the state, it seems a clear decision. We know it is a change to the way we’ve done business in the past and that change is never easy. We understand that. But harder than change is the fact that the failure to adapt the way we interact with one another puts everyone’s health in jeopardy.
We will be sending out additional information in the following weeks with the following:
- How to engage with staff regarding your account
- Filling out and submitting COVID screening forms before each class day
- and much more…
Our heroes have learned the importance of Courage, Honor, and Compassion. We wish to lead by those very same virtues and there is nothing more compassionate than allowing for inconveniences in favor of the safety of our friends and family. To quote one of our favorite movie lines, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”
If you have any questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help you.
We look forward to seeing you back at the castle soon.