Tue May 26, 2020
DeKalb, IL- Until recently, there has been no guidebook on how to respond to COVID-19. With differing opinions state-wide, it is more important now than ever to take the direction from public health professionals and state officials on how to safely take steps towards reestablishing amenities within our community.
According to ‘Restore Illinois,’ a 5-phase plan outlined by the Office of Gov. Pritzker and state officials, Illinois has been divided into 11 regions, with DeKalb County residing in the North Central section. This allows for public health officials on a local level to have a voice, based on local metrics and how our area has been affected by the novel coronavirus to help determine how we move between phases.
DeKalb County Health Department officials expect that our county may take steps to move into Phase 3, called the ‘Recovery’ phase starting May 29th. This phase means that the rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining.
This is promising news, as it is a step in the right direction. This also means some adjustments to what the Park District can and cannot offer the community at this time. Face coverings in public continues to be required and gatherings of 10 people or fewer for any reason can resume starting May 29th. Limited child care and summer programs are permitted to be open with IDPH approved safety guidance.
Staff has determined that Summer Day Camp can be offered, starting June 1st, however with some major modifications. The DeKalb Park District’s summer camp program will be housed at the Sports and Recreation Center, located at 1765 South 4th Street. The facility will be divided into four spaces, allowing for ten campers and two camp counselors per space, for a total of 12 individuals per space. IDPH guidelines allow for 10 participants per space. Each of the groups will not interact, with the bulk of social distancing camp activities being performed outdoors in the adjacent Kiwanis Park.
Both staff and campers, as well as the facility, will undergo a rigorous disinfection routine and all individuals are required to wear face masks while indoors and outdoors (when 6 feet or less of physical distancing cannot be maintained). Field trips will not be permitted at this time.
“We feel confident that we can safely offer summer camp this season within the guidelines presented by the CDC and IDPH,” stated Superintendent of Recreation, Greg Bruggeman. “Our experienced camp counselors have fun activities planned that still allow for physical distancing, but will still provide that memorable camp experience.”
Although we are excited to begin offering select in-person programs with modifications, Phase 3 restrictions do not allow for the opening of our dog park, skate park, or any playgrounds at this time. Popular June events such as the Municipal Band Concerts, Movies in the Park, and Music at the Mansion are all postponed through June 30th and on hold until further notice. Golf courses will see the opening of driving ranges, putting/chipping greens, and allow foursomes, with expanded cart rental options starting May 29th.
Summer baseball, softball, and t-ball has been canceled. Staff is considering options for an extended fall season if possible. Phase 3 also does not allow for the opening of Hopkins Pool. District officials will continue to evaluate whether or not we will open the pool with modifications if the region moves into Phase 4 sometime in July. Tennis courts at Hopkins Park are now open with restrictions.
Phil Young, Park Board President, noted, “While the summer of 2020 will look different than any other in our memories, the District is working hard to provide safe opportunities for our residents as we continue in this pandemic situation. While we are disappointed that we weren’t able to open the pool for Memorial Day weekend and that we can’t have our usual events in June, we encourage families to continue to enjoy the things that they can in our programs and parks.”
“Summer baseball season may be canceled but playing catch in the park isn’t. The dog park may be closed but taking a walk with your dog in the park is encouraged. The playgrounds may not be able to be used right now but going on a scavenger hunt in the parks can be a fun option. We hope that all of our residents continue to use our parks for their mental and physical health.”
To learn more about Summer Camp, to register, or receive details on how to receive either a refund or household credit for canceled summer programs, please visit dekalbparkdistrict.com. The DeKalb Park District will also continue to offer a variety of virtual programs, both free and low-cost, in the ‘Virtual Community Center’ portal available on the District website.
We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we navigate through the reopening process and restore DeKalb together.