High Hopes is committed to providing the safest environment possible for our participants, volunteers, and staff. To that end, we have reviewed the State of Connecticut, Federal, and PATH Intl. guidelines and have created the following plan as of June 24, 2020. Should additional best practice protocols be released, we will update our plan accordingly. We expect that all staff, participants, and volunteers will follow the guidelines in this document. If there are questions or concerns regarding your ability to meet these expectations when you return, please let us know immediately by emailing Chelsea.
- Phase One – minimal feeding volunteers return.
- Phase Two – low risk, independent riders, carriage drivers who can drive Al independently, and independent unmounted/ELP participants may return.
- Phase Three – low-risk participants with leaders and select horse handler volunteers may return.
- Phase Four – low-risk participants with leaders and sidewalkers, carriage drivers, and unmounted/ELP participants, sidewalking, carriage driving header, and ELP volunteers may return.
- Phase Five – All participants, barn, and office volunteers may return.
Volunteers who are also participants, must also complete the participant survey HERE
We request that all volunteers please complete the survey below prior to returning.
- High Hopes will be open by appointment and to scheduled volunteers/participants only.
- Staff, volunteers, and participants will stay home if they or someone they reside with is feeling ill.
- All participants and volunteers must sign a COVID liability waiver prior to their first engagement at High Hopes: https://highhopestr.org/05/22/covid-19-release/
- All staff, volunteers, and participants must provide their own masks until such time regulations are lifted.
- Hand washing and/or hand sanitizing is required immediately upon entrance for all staff, volunteers, and participants. Gloves are not recommended as personal protective equipment (PPE) by state or federal guidelines.
- High Hopes’ staff is responsible for disinfecting common surfaces multiple times daily.
- High Hopes requires a survey response from all volunteers and participants regarding their comfort and risk level and will then assign volunteers and participants based on the phased system below. In addition to state, federal, and PATH, Intl. guidelines, programming will reflect the number of individuals comfortable and capable of coming back.
- To minimize risk, our plan accounts for minimal “touches” of common items. Please note the role-specific changes within each phase.
- Volunteer and participants’ schedules may change between phases (different days/times) to accommodate various guidelines.
Phase Three- Begins July 1st
During phase three, horse leaders and those participants who utilize a horse leader during mounted lessons may return as long as they do not possess significant risk factors and are comfortable with the guidelines. Unless there are significant changes in guidelines, phase three will persist through July and August.
Masks must be worn from the time you exit your car and for the entirety of your volunteering unless you are outside and are always able to remain 6 feet away from others. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth and face shields are not an acceptable alternative to face masks.
Leaders will enter the facility through the right barn aisle door near Teddy’s stall. Prior to touching any item, please disinfect your hands with the provided sanitizer. In the event multiple volunteers arrive at once, do not congregate and you must remain 6 feet away from others. Volunteer name badges for first-time returning volunteers, as well as the daily schedule, will be available immediately after hand sanitizing at a table nearby. Staff will set out tack, and in order to minimize risk, leaders will not go into the tack room. In most cases, staff will have all horses turned in for their volunteers unless otherwise specified in advance. Volunteers will groom and tack the horses they are leading unless the horse is being schooled prior to their lesson (which will be communicated in advance). After the lesson, volunteers will untack, groom/bathe, and turn out. In the event they are not available to do so, High Hopes’ staff will perform these functions.
Unless entirely unavoidable, leaders will only volunteer in one class per day. Volunteers should log their hours through the website at https://highhopestr.org/volunteers/current-volunteers/volunteer-hours-log/ and should take their name badges home. Leaders will not enter the building unless necessary to use the restroom. If they do need to use the restroom, they should enter the bathroom area through the green door near the indoor mounting ramp – they should not enter through the sliding doors or through the lounge. Last, though we have missed seeing and talking to you, please plan to leave promptly after your volunteering – no walks around the property or visits down the runway are permitted at this time.
Participants must provide their own helmets and appropriate footwear. If you are in need of recommendations for helmets/footwear and/or cannot manage to purchase your own please let us know. Masks must be worn from the time you exit your car until you are mounted and have moved to 6 feet away from instructors and/or volunteers. This means that participants who need volunteers must wear a mask for the entirety of their lesson. Face masks must be worn over the nose and mouth and face shields are not an acceptable alternative to face masks.
Lessons will occur in the outdoor arena unless there is inclement or extremely hot weather. Your horse will be groomed/tacked/schooled as necessary and will wait for you near the outdoor mounting ramp unless otherwise specified by a staff member. If mounting inside is necessary, participants will enter through the dutch door near Aladdin’s stall and turn right to wait in the barn aisle (outside the tack room) and must maintain a 6-foot distance from anyone else. Hand sanitizer is required prior to mounting and will be available on the mounting ramp.
If the participant is driven by a transportation company, parent/family, or staff member the lesson may be observed from the picnic tables, with masks on, being mindful of distancing. Drivers may not idle in the parking lot for the entirety of the lesson (same as before). Spectators are not otherwise permitted at this time. Please avoid going inside unless necessary to use the restroom. If you do need to use the restroom, please enter the bathroom area through the green door near the indoor mounting ramp, do not walk through the sliding doors and into the lounge. Last, though we have missed seeing and talking to you, please plan to leave promptly after your lesson – no walks around the property or visits down the runway are permitted at this time.
Phase Four – Start date to depend on State of Connecticut Guidelines
During Phase Four, sidewalkers, carriage driving headers, ELP coaches, drivers, ELP participants, and participants who utilize a sidewalker during mounted lessons, may return.
Phase Five – Start date to depend on State of Connecticut Guidelines
During Phase Five, all volunteers and participants who are comfortable to do so may return to High Hopes.