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Message from CALL Executive re Coronavirus

Message to CALL Membership June 21, 2020

As we come to the end of the CALL 2019/2020 Program year, a year like no other, your CALL Board of Directors is attempting to plan for an uncertain future. CALL groups have adapted in their own way by cancelling outright, or continuing on Zoom or another virtual platform. Some groups have even increased the frequency of meetings and some new Coffee Clubs have been formed. Many groups have decided to continue through July and August, while some will wind down for the summer as usual. As of now, we have over 40 active groups meeting on Zoom, which is more than the usual number of groups meeting during the summer. Thanks especially to all the volunteers who have made these group meetings possible.

No matter what you are doing now, we are sure that you are wondering “what happens next”?

The Program Committee and the CALL Board expect that most of our fall programming will continue on ZOOM etc. There is also the possibility that some groups could get larger and continue virtually as some bridge groups are doing. Others could stay on Zoom for the winter to avoid bad driving conditions. The Web Team is exploring the possibility of making the Speaker Series and CALL Cafés available virtually.

"What happens next" is determined by Alberta Health Services Guidelines as well as the guidelines being established by cSpace and the community centres and churches where we meet.

Here is a summary of the regulations that govern what can happen for 2020/2021.

Relaunching CALL Activities

Getting us back to ‘normal’ is starting!!! Zoom has been great, but nothing is like face-to-face meetings even if we are 2 metres apart.

Alberta has moved to Stage 2 of the Relaunch Strategy. The number of people allowed at Indoor gatherings has increased to 50 and the number for outdoor gatherings to 100. BUT the requirement for 2 metre distancing is retained. Community centres and churches will be allowed to open – with those distancing restrictions. AHS Guidelines for sanitation continue to be stringent.

CALL Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities may restart. The CALL Protocol for Relaunch of Outdoor Activities posted on the CALL website is based on AHS Guidelines and will assist groups to restart outdoor activities safely. CALL Coordinators and Facilitators have been informed how to relaunch CALL activities. If you would like to begin meeting outside even if your group normally meets inside, work with your Facilitator.

Bus Trips

Many CALL members were disappointed when we had to cancel planned bus trips. We are looking at running bus trips again. However if they restart it is probable that costs will go up to cover lower bus occupancy and extra cleaning costs. These costs are unknown at the moment but we are getting the information.

CALL Indoor Activities

Inside meetings are a wholly different animal. Many venues are used for CALL meetings. We have some information about requirements at cSpace, but are waiting to learn about other venues.

• cSpace

Regulations at cSpace include the following and we assume that community centres and churches will follow similar guidelines:

o Currently, cSpace is open only by appointment. They are planning for a gradual reopening sometime in the fall.

o Even though the maximum number of people in indoor settings has been increased to 50, Room 310 at cSpace will only accommodate about 15 people with 2 metre distancing. This would hold true for many of the community and church rooms where we meet. This guideline applies not only to the rooms but to the whole process of entering and leaving the building or the room.

o There is a requirement that cSpace and the groups that meet there keep a list of names and the contact information of everyone who enters, so if someone becomes sick, contact tracing may take place. Details for this are being worked out.

o Regular and thorough sanitizing is mandated. CALL is looking into the possibility of having our current cleaner do more frequent cleaning in Room 310.

o Activities where items like cards are passed from one to another will not be happening for the foreseeable future.

These guidelines apply to small groups - although as time goes on, it might be possible to rent larger rooms, but the 2 metre distancing requirement is still a major limiting factor.

Thanks to all CALL members for showing your loyalty to CALL. We hope that you continue to find CALL’s programs worthwhile.

Play it safe. If you have questions or concerns, please send them to the CALL Board executive.

Information provided by:

• Ron Foyer, President, CALL

• Carrol Jaques, Venues/Facilities Committee

• Diana Bloom, Program Committee

Message as of March 16, 2020

Fellow CALL members … the CALL Board met today to decide how we should continue to deliver our programs considering the rapidly changing health situation.

We have decided that

•    No Interest Groups should meet face-to-face until further notice.  
•    All bus trips have been postposed – hopefully to late spring or summer dates.  All members and guests who have paid for these trips already will be refunded.
•    The Conference on Fake News has been cancelled with the hope that we can reschedule it in the Fall.  Again, all who have registered will be refunded

Some groups may wish to meet in a virtual way using technology such as Zoom (which is how the Board met today).  If your group wishes to meet in such a way, CALL will provide access to the technology.  To do so, please contact me. 

If you would like your group to meet, but in some other way, or you feel you should be an exception to this decision, please contact me.

We are truly sorry that we must make this decision, but feel it is necessary considering the increasing restriction on group activities that Government Health agencies are suggesting.

For many in CALL, the social contact is very important.  Why don’t we all make an effort to keep in contact with other CALL members to reduce both theirs and our possible social isolation

If all goes well, we may be able to start some activities in the late spring or early summer. 

Facilitators – if you group is no longer meeting, maybe you could develop some exams to test how well the group has done with its learning?  Not a recommendation, just a thought

Ron Foyer
President, CALL

Message as of March 13, 2020

Good morning … as many of you have probably seen, yesterday Alberta Health Services gave this directive:

Organizers have been asked to cancel all events with more than 250 attendees, and any event with more than 50 attendees that expects to have international participants, or involves critical infrastructure staff, seniors or other high-risk populations.

Because of the number of seniors in CALL, we have decided that all Speaker Series events will be cancelled immediately until further notice.  This series covers:
•    CALL Café
•    Science and Environment
•    Health and Wellness
•    Treks and Travels – both North and South
•    Arts and Humanities
•    Building Calgary Communities
•    Public Policy

We know these are very popular events, but we really have no choice.

Since almost all Interest Groups meetings have less than 50 attending, the Board will review what we should do with these at our Monday meeting.  Until then, members should make their decision on whether to attend them or not

At that Board meeting, we expect to confirm that the Fake News Conference and all Bus trips will also be cancelled.

This is all very sad, as CALL activities mean so much to so many of us.  We must hope we can resume these events soon – though it doesn’t look likely

Ron Foyer
President, CALL

Message as of March 9, 2020

We are concerned because so many CALL members belong to the most susceptible group for the coronavirus (COVID-19) – we are older. The CALL executive is monitoring events and remaining current with recommendations from health authorities and public officials.

There is a March 8 video from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, whose key points are 

  • Risk of being exposed in the province is still low.
  • All cases so far are travellers, or close contact to travellers.
  • And those close contacts are self-isolated until tested.
Alberta Health Services Coronavirus

Since this is the situation, we will continue with all our programs, while closely watching directions from federal and provincial health authorities

  1. We ask that members and any of their guests who are not feeling well to stay away from CALL meetings until they are better
  2. We ask that members who have recently been outside Canada carefully consider not attending CALL meetings until they believe they are no risk to others.
  3. We will be contacting all our venues to find out their plans for handling the situation.
  4. Meetings where members communally touch materials are a special concern. Bridge, Word Freaks and Mah Jong groups fit into this category. The Ukulele groups may also fit. We will provide gloves at Rosedale and cSpace if these groups wish to use them.
  5. At meetings where food and drink are consumed, we suggest that this be stopped until the situation improves such that we believe there is low risk.

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated.

Ron Foyer

President, CALL

*To participate in most programs, you must be a member.  Exceptions are listed as Open to the Public

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