Open Connections

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Our Statement of Intention for the 2021-2022 Program Year

June 4, 2021


Dear OC Community,


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wishes regarding our approach to programs for the upcoming year. There is unanimous agreement that Open Connections is best experienced in-person, and that on-campus programs allow us to best meet our mission of providing youth with the tools and skills they need for a life of purpose and fulfillment. Therefore, for the coming program year, we are moving forward, expecting and planning to be in-person for the entire program year. We will not offer a parallel virtual program, however, when possible, we will use video conferencing to give youth who are unable to attend in person a window into the day’s activities.


As for any masking policy, the feedback we received showed us that there is a wide array of feelings and desires/comfort levels with regard to masking. Please know, that guidance regarding masking is something we will be closely monitoring. Our goal is to make the community as comfortable as possible without jeopardizing our ability to be in person. Based on the current trajectory of the pandemic and the opinions of health experts and professionals, we are expecting to begin the year without masks.


To reiterate, while the pandemic will still be with us next year, we are committed to on-campus programming when:


  • It doesn’t interfere with the health and safety of the youth and staff;
  • When we are able to staff programs appropriately; and 
  • When there is no government mandate prohibiting on-campus programming.


Decisions on how to meet the health and safety needs of the community, including the mitigation strategies that will be undertaken, will be guided by the latest information from multiple sources including the CDC, the local health departments, and the PA Department of Education.


We are excited by the continuing declines in pandemic indicators as well as the rollout of multiple vaccines, and we are looking forward to a great year in 2021/2022!


Please reach out with questions!


In partnership,


Rick Sleutaris, Executive Director