May 28, 2020

Greetings RIFAC Class and Club Team Families,

I want to start out by thanking all of you that have stayed active with RIFAC during these past few months. We have received such wonderful feedback about our online program and your financial and emotional support have allowed us to keep RIFAC going during this most challenging time. We deeply appreciate this and want you to know we are incredibly grateful for each and every one of you.
As you may have heard, fitness centers in RI will be allowed to begin re-opening on June 1. We are so excited to welcome our fencers back to RIFAC! We will begin our re-opening in stages and while it will look a little different to start, we are confident that we will be able to deliver an amazing experience for everyone who is able to rejoin us for classes and training for the month of June.
 
We will be strictly following the guidelines and restrictions as determined by the State of RI (this information is available to everyone at reopeningri.com)  We are very fortunate that many of the guidelines will be easy for us to implement, as we already have small class sizes and require all students to pre-register.
Here are some of the other important details we want you to know about:
  • Classes will be limited to 15 students, however, we expect to have much smaller size groups for most classes, as we previously had.
  • All students/visitors will be logged in and screened upon arrival, including the use of a non-contact scanning thermometer.
  • We will make slight adjustments to our schedule to allow ample time between classes for cleaning and more spacious entry/exit of the students.
  • Cloth or surgical masks will be required to be worn by students at all times. Special mask inserts to fit inside fencing masks have been ordered and will be distributed to all students once they are available. Students may want to consider purchasing a cloth mask that it meant for exercise/running as they may find it more comfortable.
  • Only fencers and staff will be allowed inside the club unless it is absolutely necessary that one parent/guardian accompany the student.
  • Waiting areas and changing rooms will be closed and water fountains will not be accessible. Students should come dressed in their workout clothes and bring their own water bottles. We will have a designated area for fencing bags and personal equipment that will be cleaned between each class.
  • Distancing guidelines will be followed during all classes. Fencing will be allowed, but with strict limitation of close distance actions.
  • We will continue to suspend any hand shaking/fist bumping or any contact with other students and staff.
  • We strongly recommend that returning students have their own gear. We have new and used gear available for purchase. For families that are not able to purchase gear at this time, we will have limited gear to borrow at the club. All shared RIFAC gear will be thoroughly cleaned between each use.
We know this may all sound daunting, however, we believe this new routine will become much less so after just a few days of implementation. For families that feel comfortable returning under these circumstances, we will eagerly welcome you back!
 
At this time, if you would like to resume your in-person class (including the Club Team practices), it is essential that you please reply to this email to confirm your spot and intention to return starting next week. If at all possible, we are asking that you please let us know by Saturday, May 30. For now, we will be keeping our previous class schedule as it was prior to closing in March and making adjustments as necessary due to the number of students. We will be confirming with each student and providing more specific guidelines and details at that time.
We understand that not everyone will feel comfortable returning to in-person training at this time. Because of this, we will plan to continue the RIFAC Online Program with the weekly class videos and the live Zoom classes for the month of June at the current online pricing. If we don’t hear from you by Saturday, May 30, we will assume you are continuing with the RIFAC online program. 
For all continuing students, whether you are attending in-person or online classes, we will be honoring your earned stamps for March, April and May and will be awarding pins at the end of the June session, as always planned for the last class of the season. In-person students will be awarded the 3 stamps during the first week of class. For online students, we will have a special plan to award the stamps and pin for you at the end of this month.
Just a quick note about or Beginner Classes and Summer Camps- a more detailed email regarding our plan will be sent soon. While our June camps have been cancelled, registration is currently open at https://rifac.com/summer-camps/ for our Full and Half-Day July sections.
Don’t forget, we need to hear from you if you plan to resume classes next week! 
Thank you all so much again and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Kind regards,
Jill

 

May 11, 2020

Greetings RIFAC Families,

We are so happy to see that many small businesses in RI are planning their re-openings this week. While we still are not yet able to open the club for fencing and classes, we do anticipate that if everything continues to move in the right direction, we may be able to do so in June. Of course, there will be some restrictions and modifications in place as specified through the RI Department of Health, however; I believe our staff is ready and we will be able to deliver an outstanding fencing experience while keeping everyone safe, which remains our top priority. I hope to be in touch soon with a comprehensive plan and tentative timeline!

In the meantime, one big consideration we have for once we re-open will be the safe use of the shared fencing equipment. While all Advanced Class students and Team level fencers should already have their own gear, I know many of our Intermediate students do not. In preparation for re-opening, we would like to encourage all students who do not yet have their own gear to consider purchasing some of the basics over the next few weeks. This will greatly help us have a smooth re-opening and prevent an overwhelming number of store orders our first week back. This will also greatly alleviate the pressure on the amount of gear our staff will need to clean and handle daily and between classes.

Starting next week on May 21, our retail store will be open on Thursdays and Fridays from 3-6pm, by appointment, until we re-open. All gear will need to be pre-ordered and paid for at the time of the order. I will be there each week to assist customers, but will let you know ahead of time when your order is ready for pick up.

Please contact me if you would like to place an order. We are usually pretty good at guessing sizes, however, fencers will be able to try on different options if they’d like.

We are very optimistic that our summer camps will be running as scheduled in July and August (of course, with modifications and restrictions in place as guided by the RI Department of Health.) I look forward to sending more information about this by June 1 at the latest. Once we have state guidelines, we will also make decisions about our Beginner Classes and our Summer Class session.

Please email me if you wish to place an order for equipment, or if you have any questions in the meantime.

Thanks so much and we can’t wait to see you all again soon!

Kind regards,

Jill

jillripa@gmail.com
(401) 434-2404

 

April 27, 2020

We are very hopeful we will be able to hold our camps at RIFAC this summer. As soon as we have any information on safe opening dates and guidelines from the state of RI, we will update everyone. For now, we will be extending the full refund deadline to June 1. We are hopeful a solid plan will be in place by that time.

Thank you very much for your patience and understanding.

Jill

 

April 17, 2020

Dear RIFAC Community,

We want to start out by thanking all of our families who have continued training through the RIFAC Online program through the month of April. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we appreciate that support incredibly. We have had great feedback on the videos and live classes and we want to assure you that we remain committed to being here for all of our students. We know how important it is, now more than ever, for our fencers of all ages to have the ability to continue their learning of the sport we all love, to have an outlet to release stress with the physical workout, and the comfort of feeling connected to the RIFAC community.

That being said, we recognize that the RIFAC Online program is a new and different program from which you originally registered. And while we hope to re-open in May, we understand that things are still uncertain at this time. In preparation for ongoing closure, we have developed special pricing for the RIFAC Online program for families who wish to continue in May.

RIFAC Online pricing (50% of in-person rates):

  • Intermediate Class: $60/month
  • Advanced/Longsword Class: $80/month
  • Club Team: $140/month
  • Club Membership: $35/month

We will continue with the RIFAC Online program for you with the new pricing for May 1 unless we hear from you before then. If for any reason you would like to cancel your enrollment, please let us know. We know nothing can replace the amazing experience you have when you walk through the doors at the club. We also understand there is a lot of remote learning happening right now. But we have been working very hard to deliver a great experience with strong value and we hope you agree!

If the RIFAC Online pricing is too high for your current circumstances, we will work with you to make it affordable. We are aware that many families are facing financial hardship right now. It remains our primary goal to keep all of our fencers training and connected. We will continue to work with all families to make sure the opportunity is there. Please reach out to me and we will work out a plan for you if needed.

Please consider continuing your full in-person class/team rate. We’ve had some families ask how they can help us to ensure RIFAC remains open during and after this time of crisis. We greatly appreciate this support! If you would like to continue your full class in-person rate for May (and possibly June) please let me know and thank you!

We can’t wait to see you again! Whether you continued with us for the RIFAC Online program or not, everyone is welcome back once we re-open! We will be planning special events and classes to make up some of the missed time and as a special thank you to all of our fencers.

If you would like to suspend your payment (or continue your full in-person rate!) at this time, please let me know no later than Monday, April 27. We understand and hope to see you back when we re-open!

Lastly, we know many families have already registered for summer camps at RIFAC and may be wondering what the plan will be. If we could please just ask everyone to give us a little more time and hold off on any requests for summer camp refunds at this time, we would greatly appreciate it. We are monitoring the situation very carefully and will be sure to communicate a plan for the summer as soon as we have more information.

As always, please reach out to me with any questions. In the meantime, we wish you all to stay healthy and safe until we can fence together again.

With much gratitude,

Jill, Alex and the RIFAC Staff

 

April 6, 2020

Dear RIFAC Families,

We have had a busy few weeks managing our RIFAC Online program and so far, it has been a great success! We hope everyone is really enjoying the content and live classes. It has been great seeing so many of our fencers keeping up with their training. And as I hope you can see, the online program is improving each week, too!

Tomorrow, we are excited to launch a new section of the RIFAC Online program just for beginner fencers. We have partnered with Teachable to deliver a high quality beginner class experience.  And while this is the perfect class to get started with your fencing journey (whether you are nearby or far!), this class will also be the perfect compliment to our in-person classes once we can re-open.

Please visit onlineclasses.rifac.com for more details and to register. Registered RIFAC beginners, there is no extra cost for you to take this online class! Please contact me directly at jillripa@gmail.com and I will provide necessary details for you.

Thanks very much and I hope everyone stays healthy and well!

Kind regards,

Jill

 

March 23, 2020

Hi RIFAC Families,

We are so proud to have met our goal of launching RIFAC Online today! It took our RIFAC staff an incredible amount of work to get this remote training program set-up within one week, but we are so pleased to say that we have some type of class or live training for every program level at the club. (Beginners- I will be reaching out to you soon with details!)

Earlier today, I sent out email invites with links to everyone’s training. If you are a current student and you did not receive an email, please contact us at rifaconline@gmail.com, or you can reach me directly at jillripa@gmail.com

We had over 35 families take advantage of the curbside weapon pick up today! If you missed it, please contact me and we will set up a time to make sure you have what you need to get started with the online training.

We have also started receiving lots of fun photos of students already jumping into their first class! Please feel free to send pictures for me to share on our FaceBook page, too, if you’d like.

We are so grateful for the overwhelming amount of positive support we have received during this incredibly difficult time. It has been truly heart-warming and we sincerely thank you all. As you know, fencers have to be able to adapt and persevere, and so we shall!

Kindest regards,

Jill, Alex and the RIFAC Staff

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March 20, 2020

Dear RIFAC Students and Families,

We hope everyone is doing well! The RIFAC Staff has been very hard at work transforming all of our programs to be accessible online. We are so excited to begin sharing this with you starting Monday, when we launch RIFAC Online! We hope our students will find the online learning program really fun and engaging. We will be holding weekly classes, live discussions and special workshops for all our program levels.

Over the next few days, our currently enrolled students will begin receiving emails unique to their class or team level with instructions about how to access their online learning program. We will be using GoToMeeting, Zoom and our new private YouTube Channel. If you don’t receive this email, please check your Spam folder or contact us at our newly designated email address just for this program rifaconline@gmail.com to let us know the best email address to use. Since this will include exclusive content for RIFAC students only, we ask that you please don’t share these links.

In anticipation of your first class, there are two things you can do to be ready:

First, please have a wall target hung up and ready to go. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, even an old pillow lined with duct tape nailed to a (parent approved) wall would do the trick!

Second, for students who do not yet own a foil or epee, we are happy to loan you one for the duration of our RIFAC Online program. We will have a special curbside pick up at RIFAC for you this Monday, March 23 from 12-2pm (or by appointment.) Please just send me a quick email at jillripa@gmail.com to let me know you plan to come and I will have the appropriate weapon ready for you.

While we are taking this one week at a time, as of today, we have been given a potential re-open date of Tuesday, April 7. The Centers for Disease Control is calling for no gatherings of 50 people or more for eight weeks, which means that when fencing training does resume, classes and events will be restricted in size until May 10. Most of the time we fall under that limit anyway, but our larger events, such as tournaments, will most likely be postponed.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment, support and patience as we begin RIFAC Online. We’ve had a very positive response to moving our programs to this online format and we are very confident we will be able to continue to offer the great fencing instruction you have come to expect at RIFAC. Our staff and community have always risen to every challenge and I am sure this time will be no exception! As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us.

Kindest regards,

Jill, Alex and the RIFAC Staff

 

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March 16, 2020

Dear RIFAC Families,

We understand this is a difficult and stressful time for everyone with great uncertainty about what is to come. The health of our students and families remains our top priority and we are carefully monitoring the ongoing situation daily (if not hourly.)

We have made the very difficult decision that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, RIFAC will be suspending all classes, practices and open fencing for the remainder of this week. RIFAC will be closed as of today, Monday March 16, for all training.

Over the next few days, the RIFAC staff will be planning a remote class and team program which may include home workouts, lessons, special workshops and video review. In the meantime, we deeply appreciate your patience and support as we figure this out.

We will continue to monitor this ongoing situation daily and will send any updates to our plan as soon as they are available. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions or concerns in the meantime.

Kindest regards,

Jill, Alex and the RIFAC Staff