The dojang leadership met over the weekend and concluded that it’s in everyone’s best interest to remain closed through March. We will meet again in two weeks to reassess, and it’s possible that if favorable trends continue, we may reopen earlier, BUT that will depend on several factors breaking our way, and only time will tell if that happens.
In the meantime, we strongly encourage *everyone* in our school to schedule a free, personalized, twenty minute workout. Please don’t think of these training sessions as an imposition on our instructors, or tell yourself “I’ll just wait another week or two and see what happens.” We look forward to training with you safely outside, and we hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to maintain your practice while we wait out the spike. Sign up for a workout here.
How Will Dojang Leadership Decide When To Reopen?
There are many promising signs that omicron is already subsiding in the Northeast, but hospitals are still overburdened and transmission rates remain high. When some combination of the following factors swings in our favor, we’ll open as soon as it’s safe to do so:
- rates of new cases and hospitalizations must continue to decrease. when it’s less likely that people will get sick, and hospitals are no longer overwhelmed, the risks of coming down with a dangerous case drops significantly, along with the strain on our health care system and workers.
- when the Pfizer antiviral pill becomes available to everyone who needs it, the risk of serious illness and hospitalization will drop further.
- when our landlord lets us open our doors and windows and add more fans, our dojang environment will be be much safer. note that we secured a loan of two industrial strength air scrubbers, but after doing research and calculations, we concluded that even with these powerful tools, our large space (including high ceilings) wouldn’t circulate air fast enough to actually keep people safe—the cleaners would have just given us a false sense of safety.
All of us very much want to return to the dojang and get back to regular training, but the time is not yet here. We are waiting to see how much the average evening temperatures have to increase before our landlord will let us open the windows again (30’s? 50’s? we’re still waiting on this decision.) and will let you know as soon as we hear about this critical factor.
Please keep watching your inbox for updates (scroll down to subscribe to our email list if you haven’t already done so) and we’ll be in touch again in two weeks if we have changes to this plan, for better or for worse. Hopefully for better. . . keep your fingers crossed!
We’re sorry to say that a convergence of two forces we can’t control requires us to close the dojang, effective immediately. We’ll be closed at least through the end of January 2022. We will monitor the pandemic closely and let everyone know if we can open in February or if we’ll have to wait a little longer. If you’re not already on our email list, please scroll to the bottom of this page and sign up, because we’ll announce our reopening there first.
Because our landlord is suspending our rent while we’re closed, we are also able to suspend everyone’s membership dues for the same period. When we reopen, we’ll credit your remaining time from January toward the next month of dues.
While we’re closed, we’ll offer two outdoor training opportunities that are open to all RVTKD students for the duration. There is no charge for either of these activities, so we hope everyone will take advantage of them. See the shaded box to the right (scroll down for mobile users) for details on individual or small group Taekwondo training and individual conditioning sessions.
The Immediate Problem
The dojang leadership was already considering closing temporarily to do our part to help control the omicron surge. We hadn’t taken this step yet because we were trying to keep our community safe through three safety measures:
- requiring that everyone entering the dojang be fully vaxxed and boosted. we achieved 100% compliance from our instructors and students by our January 4 goal, and we thank everyone for doing their part!
- requiring the use of KN95 masks that we provide (to ensure they’re not counterfeit)
- increasing airflow by opening two exterior doors and several windows
This closure comes from an unexpected but reasonable prohibition in opening doors and windows, which our landlord informed us of on Tuesday. Apparently the building’s furnace is not up to the task of keeping the rest of the building warm when we open up our space, so the other tenants’ offices were uninhabitably cold. We don’t want to be bad neighbors, and the cost of purchasing industrial-strength air cleaners that can handle a 2000 square foot space is prohibitive, so this problem has no short-term solution.
When Will We Reopen?
Unlike earlier in the pandemic, we expect this closures to last weeks, not months. There are two reasons we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to reasonably return to the dojang and train with air circulation from our ceiling fans but no exterior ventilation:
- It’s possible that the omicron numbers will drop as quickly as they rose. If the optimistic scenario comes to pass, in a few weeks, most of the unvaccinated—who share much of the culpability for the duration of this pandemic, at least in the US—will have gotten Covid, and we may reach some level of herd immunity. You can read about the data that leads to these conclusions in this New York Times article or from an ABC News affiliate near Boston. Whether this drop will signify the “exit wave” of Covid, or if it’ll just be a temporary dip until another variant changes the equation is anyone’s guess.
- While omicron numbers fall, Pfizer will be ramping up production of its pill that reduces hospitalization by some 90% for people who start the regimen within five days of showing symptoms. This will lower the risk of contracting the disease. RVTKD students are already low risk because of our age/health—and, more importantly, our vaxxed/boosted status—but the Pfizer pill will help ensure the safety of people we come in contact with after we leave the dojang. Once this additional safety measure is widely available, it will be less irresponsible to take slightly greater risks of exposure. People in our “pods” will have an effective treatment in the event of breakthroughs, and the hospitals won’t be as easily overwhelmed if 90% of Covid cases are no longer going to hospitals. We’re not there yet, but it’s coming soon, and when it does, we’ll have reached another major milestone in returning to lives that are closer to normal than they’ve been since March 2020.
- INDIVIDUAL TAEKWONDO WORKOUTS
We offer every RVTKD student the chance to sign up for 20 minute mini-classes with Head Instructor William Tuman or Instructors Matt Roncone or Luke Ryan. These classes will be held outdoors at a mutually agreed upon location. All sessions with Head Instructor Tuman will take place at Millside Park in Easthampton.Students coming to these sessions must be prepared to train at the agreed-upon time. Appointments will last 20 minutes and will not be extended if a student is late or hasn’t warmed up enough. Be punctual and be ready. If you’d like to work on certain skills or techniques, you’re free to make a request, although Instructors are free to focus on whatever they think is important and appropriate for that session.
- INDIVIDUAL CONDITIONING SESSIONS
Students and Instructors should also feel free to schedule 10 minute conditioning sessions as described here. Luke Ryan will supervise these sessions, which can be at a mutually agreed upon outdoor location or via Zoom. As with the Taekwondo workouts, participants should be ready to start at the appointed hour, so any warmup or other preparations should be done in advance.