Reopening clock and watch workshop post COVID?

NigelW

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As a trustee of a horology centre just outside London - an educational charity run by volunteers which operates as a membership organisation - I have been asked to chair a working group to determine whether and how we can safely reopen our clock and watch workshop which has been closed since the start of the COVID pandemic. In normal times the club offers a number of tutored weekly sessions throughout the year of several hours each. The watch sessions attract a younger membership (they are mostly in the evenings after work) and the clock sessions during the day are mainly attended by retired men, such as myself, a fair number of whom are in high risk groups.

I am keen to learn from the experience of any similar setup, particularly what restrictions and protocols have been put in place. Any pointers would be much appreciated.

Nigel
 

Bruce Alexander

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You certainly don't need any advice from the U.S. about reopening.
What do your local healthcare professionals advise about indoor gatherings?
 
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shutterbug

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Is Zoom a possibility? It seems to be very group friendly, allowing both video and audio participation. The only drawback would be the 'hands on' part of the class. You would have to give that part of the experience some thought.
 

NigelW

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Is Zoom a possibility? It seems to be very group friendly, allowing both video and audio participation. The only drawback would be the 'hands on' part of the class. You would have to give that part of the experience some thought.
We have been using Zoom during the lockdown. Not all members have taken to it but it has enabled the club to continue providing a service to members. Our reopening plans are coming along quite well but we are not quite there yet.
 

Bruce Alexander

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reopening plans
What are they?

I would guess that you want a little social distance between participants. Everyone wears a mask. Perhaps clear face shields and gloves (or plenty of hand sanitizer) would be indicated for instructors.

We know how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 here in the States. I think there is a lot of cognitive dissonance in our gene pool and we're all drowning in it.

Good luck with your reopening.

Bruce
 

novicetimekeeper

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I think you might invest in a visualiser or two so that rather than people needing to crowd around a machine they can attend but watch a live stream projection whilst maintaining a distance and wearing masks.

When reassessing for school we have made demos more visible by use of cameras so that students can remain at their desks and observe the screen.
 

TJ Cornish

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IMO precautions about requiring masks, using a camera and video projector to show small items so congregating around a clock is less necessary, and providing hand sanitizer, etc. are where you should focus your attention. You can inform your club members about the nature of requirements and what you are doing to mitigate risk and they can decide if they are comfortable with that.
 
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Bruce Alexander

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Hmmm,

I got an alert that I was quoted, but I don't see any quotes now. In any case, we're on topic The OP wanted ideas/opinions on how to safely re-open classes in the midst of a Global Pandemic.

I'm really hoping that things do get better by mid-January at the latest. Maybe there will be a safe and effective Vaccine by then. Things seem to be headed in that direction. Such a vaccine will bring back old, Pre-Covid "normal" that we all long for No more masks requirements; No more overflowing hospitals with burnt-out healthcare providers. No more refrigerated trailers in the back.

Regards,

Bruce
 
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NigelW

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Our club has a separate workshop for watches and clocks and members who are interested in watches form a different demographic - generally much younger and fitter.

The watch workshop is the one we hope to reopen first, subject to the trustees' approval once we have finalised our proposals. Watchmakers tend to confine themselves to a single bench where all their tools are located. If we thin out the benches, have strict procedures for entry into the building (infra red temperature test, attendance log) use of washrooms and moving about, a nominated safety officer for each session etc we believe we should be able to meet or exceed government guidelines. Tutor interaction is more difficult, but as has been suggested we think this can be solved by having a table set up with a camera where the student places his/her watch and withdraws to a safe distance while the tutor demonstrates what is to be done. The camera will project onto a screen so the entire class can see what he is doing.

Clocks are a little more difficult. We can thin out benches and do similar things to the watches but we clockies need to move around more and access common equipment - things which are done in engineering workshops and laboratories currently but which need careful thought and clear procedures. Our clock members also tend to be older, mainly male, and many (including me) have health conditions which increase our risk.
 
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Bruce Alexander

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Sounds like a very good approach to a difficult situation to me Nigel. :thumb:

If you were holding classes on specific topics, I think control and demonstrations could be more easily managed through Audio/Visuals (as you have outlined), but individualized instruction and demonstrations with shared tools and instruments like you're describing must be difficult. No doubt budget concerns must come into play but, as has been mentioned above by TJ, hand sanitizer would be a good precaution to take. If necessary, you could strongly encourage participants to bring their own..

Regards,

Bruce
 
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