To our loyal Hopkins Activity Center patrons,
I want to start by saying thank you for all of your patience and commitment as we figured out how to operate over the past few months. I know that the Activity Center has become a place of refuge and comradery for many of you, and that its closure has been challenging in a number of ways. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you.
I also want to extend my thanks to Susan and Tricia (and Debbie) who seamlessly transitioned our services from in-person to virtual. They have been and continue to be incredibly dedicated in both providing excellent services and supporting the well-being of their membership.
I want to offer an additional thank you and congratulations to Susan Newville, who will be retiring in December after 40 years of service. The Hopkins Activity Center and its programming are what they are today because of Susan and her commitment.
With that being said, I do want to offer a few updates about happenings at the Hopkins Activity Center.
I know many of you are eager to get back to the center and I wish I could say we are opening the facility back up soon. Unfortunately, because older adults are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, we at the City have made the difficult decision to remain closed to in-person programming for the time being. We can’t in good conscience take the risk of opening the facility before it is completely safe to do so.
Although the Activity Center will be closed to in-person programming, the City is committed to providing ongoing services both virtually and through telephone check-ins for those without technological resources. I know this may not be the news you wanted to hear, but it is what we have to do to keep everyone, including our staff and each one of you, as safe and healthy as possible. Your well-being is extremely important to us.
While the Activity Center programming will be taking place virtually, the City of Hopkins will be opening the facility to the Hopkins School District for the 2020-2021 school year. The school district is in need of additional space to serve its students and families as a result of reduced class sizes and social distancing requirements related to COVID-19.
The Hopkins Schools Superintendent asked me to pass along the following message to you, "On behalf of Hopkins Public Schools, I would like to extend our deepest and sincerest gratitude for allowing us one school year of use during this unparalleled time in history. This partnership means a great deal. We are very thankful for the additional space as we work diligently to identify additional and alternate spaces in which we can teach and work while remaining in smaller sized, physically distant cohorts. Thank you! Thank you!"
Although we are happy to help the school district. I do want to make it clear that this arrangement is solely for the 2020-2021 school year and is not an ongoing commitment.
Should CDC recommendations change and the City decide that in-person programming for older adults is safe prior to the school year being completed, the City’s other recreational facilities, including the Hopkins Center for the Arts and the Hopkins Pavilion, have the capacity to host these services. Please complete a brief survey, here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HACCOVID to let us know how much interest you have in meeting in person, this will help guide our decisions on in-person programming when the time comes.
In the meantime, we are beginning the process of hiring a new staff member to continue senior programming after Susan retires this December (we are still working to finalize the timeline and start the recruitment process). We are seeking a small group of volunteers from Activity Center membership to make up a community panel for the hiring process. If you are interested in participating on the panel (which will take place virtually via Zoom), please let us know in the survey or by emailing me at Alenz@hopkinsmn.com. We will continue to provide updates on the hiring process throughout the rest of the year, so stay tuned.
Finally, at a city level, we are conducting a zoom budget engagement session on August 17th from 6-7 pm. I encourage all of you to join us! More information is available here, http://www.hopkinsmn.com/466/City-Budget-Process.
Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Stay Safe and Be Well,
Assistant City Manager
City of Hopkins