The Solon Senior Center resumed indoor activities this week, in a limited, phased-in approach.
“The seniors and the staff are over the moon that we can begin to gather together outdoors and now moving indoors,” Senior Center Director Jill Frankel said.
The center had been closed to its nearly 6,000 members due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for more than a year.
Gov. Mike DeWine allowed the reopening of adult daycare and senior centers on Sept. 21, 2020. The centers were given the green light to reopen with reduced capacity and new safety standards, according to the governor’s order.
“We are prepared to resume indoor activities in a limited phased in approach until we reach full capacity,” Ms. Frankel explained.
“Through the milder months until fall, our first choice of activity location will be outdoors,” she noted, “but if weather does not permit it, we are prepared to bring in small classes.”
Ms. Frankel said the center has a full range of outdoor programming, similar to past years. They made enhancements to both their patio as well as a fitness area over the shuffle-board courts in order to accommodate these activities.
Although the center’s doors were closed due to the pandemic, Ms. Frankel noted that staff continued to provide ongoing services to area seniors.
“The doors were closed, but we have been providing services,” she said. “The only service we were not providing was indoor activities.”
Through the pandemic, the center has also expanded its social services and nutrition programs as well as virtual programming and outdoor activities.
“We are are doing more things and more things differently than we were in the pandemic,” Ms. Frankel said. “Now, we will begin to rebalance with the resumption of indoor activities.”
Ms. Frankel said the future plan includes offering both virtual and outdoor activities along with indoor options.
The center, which serves individuals ages 60 to 100 and over, is recommending seniors pre-register for their classes, either calling in or online.
If they don’t choose either of those options, they can come in to the center and, if space allows, they can sign in at the welcome center and take part in the activity, Ms. Frankel explained.
At present, the center is utilizing recommendations for senior center safe operations from the Ohio Department on Aging for community-based organizations issued by the CDC regarding congregate activities.
Masks are not required for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine but are for those who are unvaccinated or do not want to show proof of vaccination, Ms. Frankel said.