As of July 30th we now know that schools will reopen September 8th. Students in kindergarten to grade 8 are scheduled to return to full-time learning, while secondary students are scheduled to return to a mix of in-class and remote learning. Masks are mandatory for Grades 4 and up only.
OSCA is very much aware that reopening schools is critical to the social and emotional development of students and key to supporting parents as they return to work. With this in mind, our immediate priority is determining the nature of in-person programming for children and our capacity for delivering safe, useful, and affordable support under Covid-19 protocols.
OSCA’S Board of Directors will meet Tuesday, August 18th. At this Board meeting the Operations Committee will present a proposal for in-person children and adult programs for the Fall. This proposal will include a description of how OSCA will meet the Phase 3 requirements for running in-person programs, including social distancing, health and safety, PPE and sanitation protocols.
Critical factors to determining the Firehall’s reopening in September include legal and liability issues, adequate staffing and space, and financial resources. What will in-person programming look like this Fall? Do we have the capacity to meet the needs of the community we serve? How long can we afford to continue operating at a loss?
As outlined in our July 29th message, OSCA provides programming on a break-even basis and depends on program fees to pay for staff. Cancelling in-person programming in March has meant a sharp decrease in program revenue (an estimated 70%), while most of our fixed costs remain the same (salaries, registration system fees, website fees, supplies and equipment, professional fees, insurance, etc.).
Since March, OSCA has been operating on reserve funds assisted by federal government subsidies. OSCA does not receive any financial assistance or funds from the City. We are expected to assume the extra costs associated with Covid-19 protocols. While the reserve funds and federal government subsidies have allowed OSCA to remain operational until now, this has come at a significant cost and the current situation is not sustainable.
Come September, we plan to re-introduce paid programming for both virtual and in-person programs. We are also discussing a potential fundraising initiative. More details on pricing, affordability, and fundraising will follow after OSCA’s Board of Directors meeting August 18th.
These are exceptional times. The pressures of running a not-for-profit organization have been more demanding than usual. We have exceptional staff and dedicated volunteers. The challenges ahead are significant but not insurmountable. Together we can make a difference.