By Carolyn Kulik
By Carolyn Kulik, Senior Center director
“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”
~ (Oz to the Tin Woodsman), L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
As much as we may wish it to be so, the coronavirus emergency is not over, and it’s sad to say that life is not returning to normal anytime soon. You have probably heard that Gov. Scott stated that senior centers may open— but the problem is that “open” does not really mean “open open.” It would have been kinder and more accurate to say, “Senior centers may open for certain activities – but not others, and with a host of restrictions and other directives (yet to be clarified) which they must adjust to and carefully plan for — after they find out what they are.”
Four lengthy documents were submitted to the VT Dept. of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) which formulates its own guidelines and requirements in conjunction with the VT Dept. of Health. Two of these documents include our specific questions which relate to maintaining health and safety during attendance at courses and events at CSC. Until these are all answered, we are not able to make a realistic plan for a re-opening date.
So far, some (but not all) of these requirements are to wear masks, to keep 6 feet (or more) apart at all times, limit capacity in rooms, to take everyone’s temperature when they enter, record all visitors, ask each person a list of health-related questions, have a separate entrance and exit, stagger comings and goings, and adjust scheduling so that people do not congregate in close proximity. Permitted capacity will be drastically reduced, overall.
The state’s social distancing requirement of six feet means that Mahjong and Bridge are not possible for the foreseeable future, i.e., not until there is a safe and effective vaccine which is distributed widely. These activities will not be happening at any senior centers, anywhere. And unfortunately, social distancing along with the mask requirement means mid-day meals will not be possible – and not even coffee or tea will be available because of protective sanitary restrictions.
It is helpful to think of opening as a partial re-opening: Whenever our doors open again, there will be strict limitations, and the Center will definitely not be back as it was pre-March 15. All things considered, Zoom classes are the best that we can do at the moment — and they are likely to continue for a long while until we are fully open. And, although it’s not a pleasant thought, please keep in mind that there could very well be more outbreaks of COVID-19 to set us back in the coming months.
Zoom Courses and Registration
Never zoomed? Fear not! Honestly, the technology is pretty easy and the rewards are worth the minimal effort. If you feel you need help, then please email for assistance. The Zoom classes will continue until the Senior Center is fully and completely open.
For expanded course descriptions, please visit our website and click on the link for Online (Zoom) Courses. Register by sending an email with your name, address and phone number; be sure to indicate the name of the course, or courses, you wish to take. Regular fees have been dropped and the suggested donation is $5 per class to be mailed in monthly to P.O. Box 207, Charlotte 05445. (Please make checks out to CSC with the course name in the memo line.)
Online Chair Yoga with Carol Bokan started on Mon., 6/22. There is still room for newcomers, and it will probably be offered twice a week in the future.
7/10 – 8/14. Two Zoom courses in Italian language will be offered again on Friday afternoons in July and August. Italian Intro (1:30 p.m.) and Italian Refresher (3:00 p.m.) with Nicole Librandi will welcome continuing students as well as newcomers. Nicole has decades of experience teaching adults and can integrate differing skill levels and experience well.
7/13 – 8/17. Coming in mid-July is a completely new online course: Conflict Resolution – Intro with Mark Williams, on six Monday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Using role-playing and practical mediation exercises, participants in this 6-week class will learn useful skills, such as how to calm an angry person down and how to empathize with someone with whom you disagree. This fascinating and useful topic can benefit anyone, because we all encounter conflict. Mark Williams is a licensed couples’ counselor who has been in practice for more than 30 years. Suggested donation is $30 for the 6-week course.
Still in the early planning stages is a free online series on balance and physical therapy, etc. Stay tuned for announcements on the Center website, in Front Porch Forum postings and in this paper.
7/10. Kayak Trips for Women in July and August. These will probably take place. Please register your interest with Susan.
7/10. Movie Discussion Group: Happiness Series with Marjorie London in July and August has been cancelled due to social distancing requirements. It was to be held at the Charlotte Library.
7/13 & 7/14. Watercolor – Vermont in July, the 1½ -day workshop with Lynn Cummings is open for registration. Scheduled for Mon., 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and Tues., 9:00 a.m. – noon, it will focus on painting summer subjects in Vermont. Please register by calling (802) 425-6345, and send your check to secure your place by 7/6 in case it can take place. If it does not, you will be contacted and your check will be returned.
7/15. The Birding Expedition with Hank Kaestner will probably take place, so be sure to call (802) 425-6345 to register with your name and phone number. If it is cancelled, you will be notified.
Free Wednesday Events
The first Wednesday event this season will be on 7/1 at 1:00 pm, and will take place only as a Zoom meeting. Because there is no physical audience to limit, you will not need to sign-up in advance.
In order to join this Zoom meeting, you will access a link on the Center’s website. The link will also be supplied in Front Porch Forum postings to surrounding towns.
7/1 at 1:00 pm. The first Wednesday event this summer will be on COVID-19: What We Know – What We Have Yet To Learn – Where Are We Likely Headed with Jim Hyde. There will be a quick overview from a public health perspective of what is known about the prevalence of infection, current trends in incidence, and the impact of the virus on mortality. Jim will also discuss the collateral impacts of the virus on the health of the general population and the effects on the health care delivery system, as well as the status of vaccine development, new drugs and treatments, and testing. Time will be reserved for Q&A.
Jim is an Emeritus Professor of Public Health at the Tufts University School of Medicine and former Director of Preventative Medicine at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Although you may have already heard and read a lot about this topic, this will probably be your first opportunity to ask your own questions. In advance, you can email questions to Jim for him to address at the end of this talk.
7/8 at 1:00 p.m. I am very sorry to report that for several reasons, the music performance by Marty Morrisey and Robert Resnik which was scheduled for this date has been cancelled. It is completely understandable that Marty and Robert thought it would be best to sit this one out at this time. Since this was unexpected news, a replacement event has not been scheduled yet. If one is found, it will be posted in various Front Porch Forums, on our phone message at (802) 425-6345, and on our website.
Partial Re-Opening Announcements
Announcements regarding the partial re-opening of the Senior Center will be announced on our website, on Front Porch Forum, on the telephone message of the Center, and in this newspaper. Please keep I mind that until there is a vaccine, the ‘new normal’ is going to be very, very different – especially for those over 65.
The Senior Center’s mission is to serve those 50 and up. Residents from other communities are always welcome. There are no membership fees. Feel free to leave a message on the Center number anytime: (801) 425-6345; voicemail will be checked daily.
Be careful. Stay well. But mostly, be kind.
“If we walk far enough,” says Dorothy, “we shall sometime come to someplace.”
~ L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Charlotte Senior Center