Dear Members and Friends:
I wanted to share our response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Given the developments in the community regarding COVID-19, Mechanics' Institute (MI) has decided to cancel all MI programs, classes, events, and meetings through Sunday, March 29, 2020. The intent is to reschedule most of these activities as soon as possible. The library, chess room, and MI building will remain open during our regular hours.
We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we continue to negotiate and develop reasonable strategies to deal with this new reality in San Francisco right now. This is a very challenging and rather unprecedented development in the community, and is likely the first time any of us have had to reorganize our lives around a public health crisis of this magnitude. We hope that keeping our library and chess room open will help provide a place of respite and community for you, particularly during this time when precautions can create feelings of isolation and disconnection. We do ask that you keep in mind prevention recommendations when using these shared spaces, however, and encourage you to follow public health protocols, including washing hands frequently, staying home when not feeling well, and practicing 'social distancing' (i.e. staying about four feet from other folks).
We are canceling all onsite writing and chess classes, tours, workshops, chess tournaments, author and film events, and book and writing groups through March 29. Our intention is that these will be rescheduled for a later date when available. We will reassess any changes that need to take place regarding our programming from March 30 onward as we learn more about the progress of COVID-19 and the community response. The only program that will continue until further notice is our scholastic chess at local schools since most school districts have deemed enrichment classes 'essential' services. If you have a child in one of these classes, please note that MI will continue these school classes with appropriate precautions and take our guidance about postponement and cancellations from the schools and districts themselves.
Please remember that these precautions at MI are being implemented out of an abundance of caution and care for you and your loved ones. As you likely know from stories of those directly impacted, even just one individual getting sick can be catastrophic for the person, their family and friends, and the community-at-large. This is particularly true given the estimated contagion rate and current burden on our healthcare system. It is our hope that these temporary cancellations can contribute to slowing some of the spread of COVID-19 so that our healthcare systems have adequate time and resources to respond. The sooner this illness becomes more contained, the sooner we can restart our programming and events.
We appreciate your cooperation. If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me. Thank you very much.
Kimberly Scrafano, Executive Director