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Ontario’s re-opening: What Brio students and families need to know!

Dear Brio Families,

I hope that you have had a restful, enjoyable March break! We are all excited to welcome you back into the studio and get to work on preparations for the end of the year.

As you know, Ontario is entering a new phase in its reopening plans as of Monday. This will have an impact on mandates that we’ve been required to implement at Brio, and I’m sure that many of you have questions.

As always, we plan to approach the endemic phase of the COVID-19 pandemic with care, reasonableness and – above all – compassion for the many different circumstances that people are coming from, so that we can continue to make our studio as safe and inclusive as possible. I am sure that you’re all with me in this and will join our team by leading with compassion and understanding.

Most importantly, we acknowledge that we’re working with kids – some of whom are very young – and any steps they take toward pre-pandemic life may need to be taken slowly, and at their own pace. 

Our team understands this well. As many of you know, I have two children at Brio – one is looking forward to the removal of mask requirements, and one who is not yet comfortable with the concept of ‘no masks’. There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this, and we are very mindful of that fact.

Changes to Masking Requirements

As of Monday, March 21, masking is no longer required at facilities like Brio Academy. 

For some time, masks have not been required for classes with physically distanced exercise taking place, so we acknowledge that the impact of this will be felt by some students more than others. 

On Monday, we will allow students, families, and faculty to make the choice that is right for them. You may come to class at Brio without a mask, provided your instructor has not indicated that there is a need to continue masking. 

Students arriving to class this week can expect to have the choice to wear a mask unless they have been contacted by their instructor to indicate that masking will still be required in their class. We do still ask each student to temp screen and sanitize upon arrival!

Please remember that there are lots of important reasons to keep masks in place for many families, and this might not yet be the right time for everyone to be done with masking. We are also sometimes privy to information that would help us make decisions about masking requirements in a particular class. We will not ask any student to remove their mask in our facility, nor will we question someone’s desire to continue to make use of masks as a method to prevent infection. 

Private lesson students, please contact your teacher or our team if you would like to continue masking during your one-on-one lessons. We understand that those rooms are smaller than our big studios, and we are all willing to help ease the way into this new re-opening phase.

In addition to personal comfort and choice, masking may be required if individuals or members of their immediate family have an underlying medical condition, are in contact with medically fragile individuals (including in a long-term care setting), have upcoming surgeries or medical treatments, or have been advised to do so by their doctor or medical professional. 

While you may be very excited to be finished with masking, it is possible that you’ll encounter someone at Brio that fits one of these categories, in which case, we will request that you continue to mask if you have been instructed to do so for the safety of someone your student interacts with.

Collection of Medical Information

We are no longer required to collect immunization status for students or family members who enter our facility. As of Monday, we will no longer be requiring proof of vaccination to be submitted to us in order to enter the facility.

We maintain – as we always have – our commitment to following public health guidelines involving vaccination and continue to encourage families to follow these instructions to keep our community safe, healthy, and in-person learning. 

New Lobby Rules

We are no longer subject to the requirements to close our waiting room space to families, so you are now permitted to come into the studio during your student’s class.  However:

1.     Please do not all come the first week, and please limit the number of adults or guests that attend. This next step in reopening is going to be a HUGE change for our students and will be quite overwhelming. First and foremost, we want to ensure our students are feeling comfortable in the studio, and dozens of unfamiliar faces will not help ease this transition. 

2.     Please do not come if you’re sick, and please also complete the temperature screening and sanitization upon entering the facility.

3.     We will be installing cameras in our second and third studios, but they will not be operational this week. Please be patient as we transition our facility into this next phase of reopening.

4.     You may not observe from in the classroom. Please do not enter instructional spaces unless you are invited in by the instructor. This can be very disruptive for your student as well as others – in pre-pandemic times we worked very hard to ensure that adult observation could happen without students being distracted, and it is important as we re-open that we continue that approach. 

Compassion and Courtesy: Steps for moving forward

Although masking may be on the way out, we hope that we’ll be able to maintain the lessons we’ve learned over the last two years with respect to caring for the health and safety of our fellow citizens.

As you know, we’ve developed amazing resources for online learning, either by Zoom or through asynchronous methods like Thinkific. Hopefully, this attitude is something that we all take with us into the next phase of reopening.

If your student is unwell, even if it is just a cold, please do not send them to class. Ultimately, keeping our students and faculty healthy is key to ensuring no disruption to your student’s learning. If you need to miss a week, please just let us know. Private lessons can be conducted on Zoom at a moment’s notice, and we have plenty of resources available for group lesson students on Thinkific.

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Thank you all for a wonderful season so far – our Brio community really is something special, and we are so grateful to have found such an incredible group of compassionate, understanding, caring families. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

All the best,

Rachel and the Brio Team

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