Last Updated: Sunday, September 13, 2020
The safety of our students and staff at Ashley Ballet Arts Academy is always our primary concern. Our goal is to provide an optimal learning environment in the performing arts, which includes the highest possible level of cleanliness when we begin to transition from virtual to onsite classes. As such, ABAA, in consultation with members of the medical community, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and local guidelines, is developing strict protocols for program participation at our facilities.
When classes are able to move onsite, all individuals on the premises will abide by the following plan. This plan will remain fluid in order to adjust to changing circumstances and advice from the CDC, as well as state and federal authorities.
ABAA is providing its best effort to create a safe environment for its students. This Health and Safety Plan does not express any guarantee, promise, or assurance, or represent 100% effectiveness against the spread of disease. It is meant to augment the guidelines set forth by the CDC, state, and federal authorities, and can only be as effective as official guidance in combination with the public’s willingness to follow them.
.Curbside Drop-Off and Pick-Up
- Parents will drop their dancer(s) off curbside, where they will undergo a daily temperature check and symptom screening administered by ABAA staff using ABAA's infrared thermometer.
- Students must be dropped off no earlier than 5 minutes prior to their scheduled lesson or class. This is to avoid unnecessary exposure.
- If a student presents a temperature of 100.4ºF or above, they will be denied entry.
- Parents may not depart until their dancer is successfully admitted at their designated studio door.
A symptom screening includes:
- A visual inspection of the student for signs of illness, and
- Verbal confirmation from parent/guardian that the student does not have fever, shortness of breath, or cough.
A student will be denied entry if they present any of these COVID-19 symptoms:
- Active cough (even from allergies),
- Shortness of breath,
- Sore throat,
- Repeated shaking with chills, or
- Loss of taste or smell.
All ABAA faculty and staff will also undergo this screening at the beginning of each shift.
- Class end times will be adjusted to allow for a thorough cleaning of the space before the next class begins.
- Please arrive at the parking lot 10 minutes before the scheduled class end time to be ready to pick up your dancer when they exit the building.
- Dancers should move directly to/from the facility to their waiting vehicle before and after classes/lessons.
- Dancers should arrive in dance clothes (with warm-up coverings), ready to go straight into the studio. The dressing rooms are closed for changing or other use.
- Students who are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 or any other contagious diseases are prohibited from attending classes or lessons in person until such time as they are symptom-free or cleared by a physician.
- If a member of a student’s household is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or other contagious diseases, the student is prohibited from attending classes or lessons in person until such time as they and their family are symptom-free or cleared by a physician.
For safety reasons, we cannot grant entrance or class participation to anyone:
- With COVID-19,
- With symptoms of COVID-19,
- Who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days,
- Who has been in contact with sick individuals at home, or
- Who has travelled outside of MN to a high risk area (you must wait 2 weeks before returning to dance).
- Until further notice, no parents or visitors are allowed inside the building except as listed below for Pre-Ballet participants.
- The lobby and indoor observation areas are closed.
- Pre-Ballet dancers must have one parent or guardian wait in the lobby in their designated area for the duration of class.
Personal Protective Items
- Since dancing involves heavy breathing and labored movement, ABAA requires that students ages 5+ wear personal protective items in the form of cloth masks at all times, until advised differently.
- Any student under age 5 may choose to wear a mask, provided they can wear them properly.
- The use of face masks will reduce the amount of virus release from pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.
- Teachers will also wear masks, and will also maintain the 6-feet distance rule (or further, if possible) while teaching.
- ABAA defines an acceptable mask as one which will:
- Cover the student's entire nose and mouth at the same time with minimal gapping,
- Attach to the head securely, often with elastics around the ears or around the back of the head (incidentally, a ballet bun may be very helpful here), and
- Include at least one, but ideally two, layers of fabric.
- Class music will be played at a lower volume in order to allow the instructor to speak over the music with less strain and droplet transmission.
Exercising in a Mask
- A mask may be difficult to get used to exercising in. Therefore, in-person classes will slowly ramp up exercise and movement levels, instead of escalating activity levels quickly.
- Teachers will help train the students on how to breathe in this new way while dancing, and will provide instruction regarding how to drink water properly and monitor themselves throughout class safely as they ease into this new safety measure.
- The body will adapt over the course of a few weeks to wearing a mask.
- As state mask recommendations for exercise and long exposure times are lessened, ABAA will also lessen their mask requirements, but any student is welcome to continue or return to wearing a mask as fits their personal comfort level.
Mask Removal and Disposal Protocol
- Students should make every effort not to remove their masks during class or rehearsal.
- Should a student need to remove a mask, whether single-use or reusable, they will follow the appropriate mask disposal protocol outlined below, immediately wash their hands and/or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer (letting it dry for 30 seconds), and then put on a clean mask.
- If a student needs to remove a single-use mask, they will dispose of it in the trash can provided inside the studio.
- If a student needs to remove a reusable mask, they will place it into its own sealable bag and return home with their mask.
- ABAA does not provide sealable bags for this purpose. Students must ensure that they have brought their own.
- Whether their mask is single-use or reusable, dancers will not leave behind masks anywhere inside the facility unless it is inside a trash can.
- ABAA is not responsible for lost or missing masks.
- Dancers may require multiple masks to get through their class/es. A wet mask is less efficient at filtering bacteria and viruses; therefore, if a student's mask becomes saturated with moisture from breathing or sweat, they will be required to change into a dry mask.
- Masks should only be worn once and then replaced with a fresh mask.
- All reusable masks should be cleaned between uses.
- Ideally, reusable masks will be cleaned in a washer with hot water and soap, and then dried in a dryer prior to next use.
- Ironing on the highest setting can also disinfect after washing and drying.
- There now exist multiple commercial reusable mask options available for use during dance/exercise.
- The dressing room is closed until further notice.
- Dancers will bring their dance bags and personal items directly into the studio with them.
- After curbside drop-off and symptom screening, admitted dancers will be directed to their proper studio entrance (note that depending on weather and time of year, this may or may not be through the main front door).
- Each dancer will be assigned an individual “home base” chair lined up against the wall inside the studio (spaced 6 feet apart) during each class.
- They will use this same chair every time they take that class.
- The dancer will remove outside shoes before entering the studio, and carefully carry them to their personal chair.
- The dancer will place their shoes under their chair, their coat on the back of the chair, and their dance bag and related belongings on the chair's seat when not in use.
- All dancers will sit/warm up in their chair until their fellow classmates arrive and class is ready to begin.
- Teachers will provide chair warm-up exercises in the initial weeks returning to in-person instruction.
- All chairs and surrounding areas will be cleaned between each class. Therefore, a dancer may have multiple chair spots throughout the week depending on how many classes they take, but will always arrive to a sanitized chair at the beginning of class.
- Personal belongings include but are not limited to:
- Dance bags.
- Any cell phones, which if brought to class must be on silent/off (not vibrate) and kept in a sealed Ziploc bag inside the dance bag. These are not to be taken out except in case of an emergency.
- Dance shoes (see note under Minimizing Exposure.)
- Outside shoes and coats.
- Yoga mats. (ABAA will not provide yoga mats until further notice.)
- 9-foot PBT Therabands for PBT class. (ABAA will not re-use Therabands until further notice, but does require extra-long Therabands for PBT. Students may purchase their own Theraband from ABAA for $10.)
- Practice tutus for Pointe class. (Students must transport their tutus to/from class each time.)
- Water supply. (Water fountains are closed until further notice. Students should bring multiple water bottles as needed for classes.)
- Hand sanitizer and antiseptic wipes. (ABAA will provide some, but it is highly recommended that students bring own in order to guarantee access.)
Food and Water
- As mentioned above, ABAA's dressing room and water fountains are closed until further notice.
- Eating in the building (except in emergency) is not allowed until further notice.
- Dancers are welcome to eat snacks outside.
- Students are advised to bring multiple filled water bottles as needed, depending on the length of time dancing.
High-Touch Areas and General Best Practices
- As in the past, ABAA will continue to sanitize all high-touch surfaces. The frequency of this cleaning, however, will increase.
- Weather permitting, ABAA may prop open front and back doors during classes to allow fresh air flow throughout the building.
- Students and families are encouraged to use an elbow/hip instead of their hands whenever possible to push doors open or flip light switches.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the building, although anyone entering the facilities is encouraged to bring their own in order to guarantee access to it.
- Door handles and high-touch areas will continue to be cleaned often (see Cleaning and Sanitizing Practices, below.)
- Maintaining similar ‘pods’ of people as much as possible will be considered in creating class schedules and faculty assignments, while still prioritizing top-quality education opportunities for all ABAA students.
- ABAA will track general exposure/contact to the best of its ability when recording daily symptom screenings and class placement.
- To minimize exposure via restroom visits, we advise all dancers (especially young ones) to use the restroom at home prior to coming to ABAA.
- The women’s restroom will be reserved for Studio 1, with a single-person capacity instead of a two-person capacity.
- The family restroom will be used by Studios 2 and 3, one person at a time.
- Antiseptic wipes and paper towels will be available for before and after bathroom use.
- Visual aids on the floor leading to the restrooms will illustrate traffic flow and appropriate spacing to support social distancing.
- Remember to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Always cough or sneeze into your elbow, use tissues, and immediately throw used tissues in the trash.
Dance Footwear Policy
- Students and teachers wearing ballet, pointe, jazz, or other dance shoes must NEVER wear these shoes outside. They must use the sanitizing wipes provided to clean their shoe bottoms before entering a classroom.
- Students and teachers going barefoot in any modern class must also wipe their feet with the sanitizing wipes provided, as it is not possible to deep clean the floor between every class.
- It is highly recommended that all students carry a packet of sanitizing wipes in their dance bags.
Physical Distancing and Class Size Reduction
- ABAA will utilize the 6-foot rule in and out of studios until further notice.
- No partnering will be done in class or choreography until further notice.
- Maximum class sizes and building capacity will be determined and adjusted according to state and local requirements.
- Physical distancing practices in class include:
- All barre work will be done 6 feet apart.
- All barres will be sanitized before and after use.
- The dance floor will be taped in 10-foot parameters for center work.
- Advanced classes that can travel across the floor safely will do so with special consideration and choreographed musical timing that allows for each student to be 13-16 feet apart (the recommended distance for traveling exercise) from the person traveling before them.
- If the class size is larger than the allowed limit, then the students will attend class both in person and through live virtual streaming on a rotating schedule.
- In this case, the class will be streamed through a live-streaming platform.
- Dancers attending from home will take class in real time.
- They will interact with the teacher and students virtually while the other portion of class dances with the teacher in the studio.
- These dancers will rotate on an appropriate schedule.
- This part-virtual model will only be used until class sizes can be increased in accordance with established public health protocols to accommodate all students in the same room.
Private Lessons and Mind/Body Lessons
- As studio availability allows, and especially as classes slowly increase over the summer months, private lessons are available for any student who wishes to utilize them.
- Private lessons can be done in person or via a live video-streaming platform (e.g., Zoom).
- All rates and booking info are listed on the ABAA website.
- Private lessons will be conducted following all social distancing and sanitization protocol.
- All private lesson scheduling will allow for a 15-minute gap between lessons for proper cleaning.
- Mind/Body lessons are in-person lessons that utilize the Pilates reformer and various pieces of equipment.
- These lessons are conducted in Studio 3 to allow proper social distancing.
- All equipment is deep-cleaned and sanitized between every use.
- Mind/Body clients are required to bring their own mat and Theraband if needed in the session.
- All rates and booking info are listed on the ABAA website.
Virtual Classes and Withdrawals
Contingency Plans in the Face of Force Majeure
ABAA recognizes that although no one can predict the future, our school may be affected by force majeure events. Though uncommon, these events do happen. ABAA's definition of force majeure includes but is not limited to: natural disasters sometimes described legally as "acts of God," such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes; major biological events, such as epidemics or pandemics; and other disruptions, such as wars, riots, labor disputes, terrorist activities, or interruption or failure of electricity or communications systems.
In the event that force majeure affect ABAA's ability to deliver regular services, we are committed to the following:
- Virtual Classes — if ABAA is unable to provide in-person classes, Junior and Senior division students will receive virtual instruction in place of a refund.
- Pre-Ballet students will not receive virtual classes, and will instead receive a refund.
- Refunds — if ABAA provides neither in-person classes nor virtual instruction, students will receive a refund.
- Notifications and Deadlines — should a force majeure event take place prior to the commencement of the session, ABAA will notify students of our plan to provide virtual classes to our Junior and Senior divisions as detailed above.
- Once notified, Junior and Senior division students may opt out of virtual classes in exchange for a refund before the session begins.
- If, however, a force majeure event happens mid-session, and ABAA offers virtual classes to Junior and Senior division students, no refunds will be issued.
Revised Summer Withdrawal/Refund Requests (effective May 22, 2020)
- If a student wishes to withdraw any enrollment, their tuition will be refunded if they request cancellation at least 20 days before the start of the session.
- To ensure staffing and program commitments to all families, refunds will only be granted after that date in the event of illness.
- Phone withdrawals are not permitted.
- Withdrawals must be submitted in writing to Administrative Director Pat Wertwijn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The deadline to submit a withdrawal request is 20 days prior to the session start date (e.g., May 26 for SDI starting June 15). After ABAA has accumulated all requests, we will submit for processing of refunds.
Withdrawal Due to Illness
In the event that a student becomes ill at the start of or during the duration of the session, their account will receive a refund for the tuition of the remaining classes.