Good afternoon SPIRIT Community,

Like everyone else, our team has been evaluating how to deal with COVID-19 and its impact on our everyday lives. The well-being of our participants and families - riders, instructors and volunteers - is, and always has been, our top priority. We are continuously evaluating our operating status and the safety of our activities. We also need you, our family members, to assess and follow your individual risk tolerance.

What SPIRIT is doing:

Across all operations, we are following CDC guidelines for community organizations (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/guidance-community-faith-organizations.html). We are monitoring the number of participants per activity to optimize the number of people present, while also having enough support to safely conduct activities. We are minimizing physical contact and proximity when possible and asking anyone with symptoms or potential exposure to stay home.

SPIRIT provides a variety of services to different types of clients. Some of these programs run through Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and Fairfax County Children’s Services Act (CSA). For these activities, we are following guidance from those authorities. For all other activities, we are following guidance from Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Park Authority (https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/coronavirus-updates).

We are closely monitoring communications from federal, state and local government entities and have subscribed to several text and email notification systems. If we receive guidance to cease or modify our activities, we will do so and communicate accordingly.

What we need from our community:

SPIRIT is a center for happiness, growth, healing and improving life skills. For those not comfortable with participating at SPIRIT, don’t worry about it!  We will be here for you when the risk from COVID-19 subsides.

For those of you in proximity to at-risk populations, we recommend delaying participation at SPIRIT until authorities declare that COVID-19 is no longer a significant threat to our community. We also need families and participants to understand that SPIRIT operates on a farm, and we don’t have the same ability to sterilize, decontaminate and clean ourselves or our facilities to the same degree as traditional institutions.

For those of you who still choose to participate knowing these risks, we ask that participants maintain 3-6 feet of distance from each other, eliminate unnecessary physical contact and positively manage coughing and sneezing by covering with an elbow and moving away (and down-wind) from others.

Our Plan:

We will continue activities as scheduled, while minimizing and staggering groups and paying attention to the risk within and around our community. We will provide updates as needed and rely on our families and volunteers to communicate with us if they choose not to attend activities.

Life (and SPIRIT!) will return to normal; but for the next few weeks, we need to adopt these measures in order to protect the normal we know and love.

Thank you all for your support, and please direct any questions to spiritoep@spiritequestrian.org.

Sincerely,

The Herd